Utah Jazz: Trade of Mehmet Okur surprises Tyrone Corbin, players

Published: Friday, Dec. 23 2011 11:45 p.m. MST

Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles are the only players still with Jazz from the 2007 Western Conference Finals team.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — So stunned by what he'd seen on the tube, C.J. Miles had to rewind his TV three times Thursday night before the breaking news fully registered.

Mehmet Okur traded?

Memo to New Jersey?

Okur for the Nets' 2015 second-round pick and a $10.8 million trade exception?

After rewinding times three, Miles realized he wasn't "bugging" (to use his word for going crazy).

"It's tough," Miles said. "He's been here since I've been here. He's a good friend of mine."

Soon, another another weird realization occurred to the 24-year-old.

"That makes me the person who's been here the longest," Miles said. "That's what is so crazy about it."

As local weathermen say, if you want to see the roster change in the NBA, wait 15 minutes, right?

That revolving door, Jazz fans have learned all too well in the past year, even opens and shuts in Utah — for people not named John Stockton, Karl Malone and Jerry Sloan, at least.

Oh wait, the Hall of Famers are gone, too.

"That's the NBA life," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "That's the way things are."

Case in point: Memo's move to Snookiland leaves Miles and Paul Millsap as the sole roster members from the Jazz's 2007 Western Conference Finals team.

Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Okur, even Rafael Araujo, have exited stage right. Matt Harpring traded his basketball shoes in for a microphone.

Lasting legacies, it seems, have been replaced by short-term leases.

"It's the nature of the game," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said.

Thursday turned out to be a "here today, gone tonight" scenario for Okur.

He practiced with the Jazz in the morning, visited sick children in the hospital with the team in the afternoon and then learned he was going to be reunited with D-Will in the evening.

"He was shocked to hear the trade," an empathetic Corbin said. "It's a difficult time for it to happen."

To a man — and Turkish teen — Jazz members are also shocked the fun-loving, 3-point specialist is no longer around to bust their guts by saying "That's how I roll!" in the locker room or "So much fun" after suicide drills.

They're bummed out, too.

"It hit me like a ton of bricks," Millsap said. "I didn't really see it coming. I don't think anybody seen it coming."

The 19-year-old who used to wake up in the middle of the night to watch his fellow countryman play hoops for the Jazz on Turkish TV might've been the saddest person at practice Friday.

"He was just like big brother to me," Jazz rookie Enes Kanter said. "I'm still just kinda sad."

The older Jazz members will miss Okur's humor, kindness and sarcasm, his competitive spirit and attitude — not to mention the basketball skills that made him such a valuable and unique center.

"He was equally good in the locker room as he was on the floor, probably better because of his personality," Corbin said. "The guys liked him. He was a good guy to be around. He was funny. We're going to miss him."

Including on the golf course, where Okur could occasionally be found with teammates and coaches.

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