A complex deal sending Utah backup center Mel Turpin to Spain in exchange for Jazz 1987 first-round draft pick Jose Ortiz has finally cleared its last hurdle, club officials said Friday.
"The deal is done," Jazz President Dave Checketts said. "Mel Turpin cleared waivers today. He is now the property of the Spanish team."The six-part deal between the Jazz, Turpin, Ortiz and the Zaragoza Team in Spain was completed last week. But the NBA Players Association wanted to make sure no other pro club was interested in Turpin, so the Jazz asked Wednesday for waivers on the overweight center.
At noon Friday, Checketts said, "His release is in effect."
The Jazz had been unhappy with Turpin's 290-pound weight last season and were trying to figure out a way to lure the 6-foot-10 Ortiz back to the United States from Spain, where he had signed a 4-year contract last season with Zaragoza.
Efforts to trade Turpin to another NBA club were unsuccessful and he was ignored in the expansion draft. Jazz Coach Frank Layden had said, if Turpin was on the 1988-89 roster, he would be suspended under a weight clause in his contract.
But, under agreements worked out Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, the Jazz signed Ortiz to a "multi-year" contract and released Turpin from the remaining two years of his NBA contract.
Utah spokesman Bill Kreifeldt said Turpin "already has traveled to Zaragoza, taken his physical and begun working out with his new team."