With Lopez Down, Okur Set to Play Big Role for Nets
The hits keep on coming for the Nets.
Two weeks from learning that they would not be acquiring Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in the immediate, New Jersey lost the man who was the centerpiece of the deal, Brook Lopez, for 6-8 weeks with a fracture in his foot.
Lopez, who was originally listed as day-to-day, then 4-6 weeks, was regressed to 6-8 weeks, forcing the Nets to find a main-stay replacement for their center.
New Jersey wasted little time, sending a 2015 second round draft pick to the Utah Jazz for 6'11'' Mehmet Okur, Thursday night, who joined the team on Saturday for their final practice before heading to Washington to take on the Wizards on opening night.
Okur will be making nearly $11 million with the Nets this season, which is the final year on his contract.
On Friday, the Nets added another potent scorer, signing DeShawn Stevenson, who knows a thing or two about winning games, after his championship run with the Dallas Mavericks last season.
Okur averages 13.7 points-per-game for his career, playing for the Detroit Pistons and the Jazz.
Stevenson scored just over five points-per-game for the Mavericks last year, playing a vital role as a bench player.
With Lopez coming back, at the scheduled latest being mid-February, point guard Deron Williams will need to work well with power forward Kris Humprhries and now, starting center, Okur, as the team will play nearly half the season without Lopez.
Williams went through a similar season when Carlos Boozer went down with an injury with the Jazz in 2008, and Utah needed players to replace him.
Many are speculating that the loss of Lopez hurts the Nets' chances of still acquiring Howard, although others have said that it could benefit the Nets, forcing all teams associated with the trade to move players around. The Magic, likely, would be interested in Andrew Bynum from the Lakers as their top choice, regarding the Nets deal as insufficient when they took their center off the trading block in early December.