Okur, good fit for knicks?
This article was in todays post. I don't know much about this guy, what does everyone think
OKUR MAY BE GOOD FIT FOR KNICKS
By MARC BERMAN
May 21, 2004 -- AUBURN HILLS - With all the talk about the Knicks courting Rasheed Wallace, there's another Piston big man who fits what Isiah Thomas is looking for - 7-foot restricted free agent Mehmet Okur.
While Detroit GM Joe Dumars has been emphatic about re-signing Wallace, Okur's status is unclear. As with Wallace, Thomas is expected to take a run at Okur, it has been learned.
If Wallace does re-sign with the Pistons, Okur could be the odd-man out and the Knicks have their $5 million mid-level exception to play with. Thomas has said he will be very active with his mid-level exception.
Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens said the club would look for an athletic power forward. Okur doesn't meet that description, as he's slow, but he has brawn and size and can block shots, unlike Nazr Mohammed. Plus, this free-agent class is weak and Thomas can eliminate all the talk that he doesn't like European talent if he signed Okur.
Okur is restricted, meaning the Pistons could match any offer for him. But because Okur has played only two years, the Pistons can't match an offer over $5 million from an under-the-cap club. Hence, they can match the Knicks' offer.
The capped-out Knicks also can only offer Wallace their mid-level at a maximum six years, bringing the total to $37.5 million. Thomas could be creative and try to lure Wallace for two years at the mid-level ($5.0M, $5.5M) then re-sign him to a 75-percent raise, according to CBA rules. That would make his salary in the third year $9.62M.
It's clear Pistons coach Larry Brown doesn't always know what he has with Okur, a native of Turkey who is in his second NBA season. Speculation that Okur was all but history as a Piston surfaced in Detroit after the Game 5 three-overtime classic last Friday.
Despite all the foul-outs, including Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince, Okur did not play in any of the three OTs, as Brown went with a small-ball lineup.
However, Brown learned from his mistake. In Game 6, with the Pistons trying to rally from a 13-2 hole, Okur was put into the game at small forward for the erratic-shooting Prince and Detroit thrived. Okur combined with the Wallaces for a lethal and big frontcourt that made it tough for the Nets to get to the rim in the halfcourt.