SALT LAKE CITY — Shocked and saddened.
Those were the shared feelings the Utah Jazz had Thursday night when they found out their longest-tenured player was traded.
There's no doubt New Jersey-bound Mehmet Okur will be missed by his old teammates, coaches and management.
"It's just a tough time for everybody to go through, and I feel his pain," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "I've been in similar situations as a player and getting traded is never fun."
C.J. Miles, entering his seventh season, overtakes Okur as the player who's been with the Jazz the longest. The small forward said he rewound the TV news three times to make sure he heard the news correctly.
Indeed, he did.
Okur, who's been with the Jazz since the 2004-05 season, is headed to the Nets and will rejoin an old buddy and former Jazz point guard Deron Williams.
In exchange for the 6-foot-11 outside threat, the Jazz receive a valuable $10.8 million trade exception and a 2015 second-round pick from New Jersey.
"It's tough. He's been here since I've been here. He's a good friend of mine," said Miles, who was drafted by Utah in 2005. "He's a really good guy in the locker room, on the floor, great to play with, so it's tough to see him go. But you understand it's a business and that's the way it goes sometimes."
Rookie Enes Kanter, who used to watch Okur play on Turkish TV at 3 a.m., is bummed to see his short-term mentor move on.
"He was just like big brother to me," the 19-year-old said. "I'm still just kinda sad."
O'Connor feels the same. He even called the trade "miserable" because it sends a well-respected player elsewhere during the holidays.
"He's very humble. He's going to be greatly missed," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "It's tough to lose a guy like that."
O'Connor admitted the Jazz could use another shooter in Okur's absence. But the Jazz general manager pointed to the continued development and post versatility of second-year big man Derrick Favors as being a reason the trade was possible.
"Things like this happen," Jazz center Al Jefferson added. "We've got to adjust and move on. I'm more surprised. I didn't see it coming."
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