The Utah Jazz traded All-Star center Mehmet Okur to the New Jersey Nets on Thursday for a second-round draft pick.
The 6-foot-11 Okur is in his 10th year and was to earn $10.8 million this season in the final year of his contract.
The Nets needed another big man after learning Brook Lopez was out until at least February from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot.
”Mehmet will give us added scoring and size,” Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement. ”His ability to shoot the 3 will help space the floor.”
Utah had an abundance of big men. The Jazz drafted Enes Kanter No. 3 overall this summer and have watched former No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors blossom. Plus they have Al Jefferson, who started all 82 games last season and came back in good shape, and the versatile Paul Millsap and Jeremy Evans at power forward.
Thursday’s deal also gives the Jazz a trade exception, which Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said will ”allow us to go shopping.”
Teams with a trade exception have up to a year in which they can acquire more salary in other trades than they send away.
O’Connor said that Utah used the trade exception it received by shipping Carlos Boozer to Chicago before last season to acquire Jefferson from Minnesota that same offseason.
It also means Utah may not be done dealing.
O’Connor, however, said he is happy with the team’s big men.
”I feel like we’re in pretty good shape, but we’re going to miss Memo,” O’Connor said.
”It’s not easy. He was a professional. He played hurt. He did everything he was supposed to do. We appreciate all he did in the seven years he was here. Hopefully he can appreciate that seven years ago we were the ones who took a chance on him and stepped up.”
O’Connor said he believes the 32-year-old Okur can play alongside Lopez when Lopez returns from injury.
”I think he went to a good situation,” O’Connor said. ”He’s healthy and that’s the important thing.”
Okur, a native of Turkey, played only 13 games last season while recovering from Achilles and back injuries, but said he was 100 percent entering training camp.
He has averaged 13.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in 617 career games with Detroit and Utah.
Okur played 12 minutes in Wednesday’s win over Portland, scoring seven points, with one rebound.
Okur joined the Jazz prior to the 2004-05 season. He departs the team ranking fourth on the franchise’s career list for 3-pointers made (517), fifth for 3-pointers attempted (1,358), and ninth in scoring (7,255), rebounding (3,599) and blocked shots (346).
This is the second trade the Jazz have made with the Nets this year. In February, they sent All-Star point guard Deron Williams to New Jersey in exchange for Devin Harris, Favors plus first-round picks in 2011 and 2012.
The Jazz used this year’s pick to take Kanter, another Turkish star.