I’m a huge Jazz fan. Having grown up a few short blocks from the stadium I have witnessed a few different generations of this team.
The trading of Mehmet Okur (to New Jersey for a 2015 second round pick and a trade exception) marks a sad day in my Jazz fandom. He was a key piece to the resurgence of the Jazz in the post Stockton and Malone era, especially the year he made the All-Star team.
I understand and actually like the trade. The Jazz get rid of the log jam in their front court, allowing more minutes for young guns Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, and clearing $10.8 million off the books.
Now, Kevin O’Connor (The Utah Jazz GM) can trade any Jazz player or draft pick for another player whose contract is within 10.8 million of the traded players. Also, there is some flexibility with the trade exception . The Jazz can’t combine it with trades, but can split it to take multiple players – such as signing a $5M player and then a $4M player later. And since this happened in late December, the Jazz will have all of the 2011-2012 season plus the first month of the 2012-2013 season to see if a team wants to dump a good player.
I’m sure the front office was happy to dump Memo’s salary after several injuries cost him the majority of his 2010-2011 season. However, I’m also sure they weren’t happy to get rid of Memo the person. He’s a fantastic individual (I had the privilege of interviewing him several times) who’s steady play helped the Jazz tremendously during his seven year tenure.
I’m also bummed he won’t be able to continue making Kanter feel more comfortable, as both big men hail from Turkey. Although this does allow for the rest of the team to rally around Kanter to acclimate him, thus building friendships and chemistry.
Farewell Money Man, I wish you nothing but the best, unless you’re playing the Jazz.
I will admit, losing Larry Miller, Hot Rod Hundley Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson, Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Price, Andrei Kirilenko (most likely) and now Memo has been hard to take as a fan. Although, I have faith in Kevin O’Connor and am optimistic in the rebuilding process.
*** PS – I will be posting both my NBA and Utah Jazz season previews in the next few days.