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News » Okur is leaning toward opting out

Okur is leaning toward opting out

Okur is leaning toward opting out
While his agent continues to negotiate a possible contract extension with the Jazz , and has said his client is "leaning toward opting out" of the final year of his contract with the team if no agreement can be reached by Tuesday, starting center Mehmet Okur recently told media members in his native Turkey that he has no current plans to play there. Late last month, Okur was honored at Forum Istanbul 2009 Convention ? a national awards gala ? for "representing (his) country's honor in international platforms with great success."

Okur isn't playing internationally for Turkey this offseason, and ? though he led the country to silver at the 2001 FIBA European Championships and played on its 2004 Olympic team ? the one-time NBA All-Star hasn't the past couple summers. Bogdan Tanjevic, coach of Turkey's national team and the Istanbul-based Turkish League club Fenerbahce, presented Okur's award. "(Tanjevic) invited me to some Fenerbahce practices where he said come by, see what we do," Okur said. "I'll try and go." Afterward, though, Okur fielded a reporter's question about perhaps some day playing for Fenerbahce along with countryman and fellow NBA star Hedo Turkoglu. "My goal is to wear the Utah Jazz uniform as long as I can, help them achieve their first championship, and have my jersey number retired," Okur said. "After my NBA career is over, if I am still in good shape with skills ... I would think about playing with Hedo for Fenerbahce. It would be great to play in the Euroleague with him, but for now it is too early to say anything on the matter." That seems to refute the notion of Okur using a potential return to Turkey, where his father has been seriously ill, as a chip in his talks with the Jazz . Okur did, though, suggest he might play for Tanjevic and Turkey when it hosts next year's FIBA World Championships. "Our goal is to win a medal at the 2010 World Championships, just like we did in 2001 during the European Championship," he said. "We can do that, and I hope I will be with my friends during that period." Okur also refuted the notion of a running feud with Tanjevic, stemming from his recent national-team absence. "As you can see," he said, "I have no personal issues with Coach Tanjevic. And he has none with me." If he does opt out, Okur would pass on $9 million for next season. Fleisher, though, hasn't ruled out a possible return to Utah even if Okur does opt out ? and Okur has suggested multiple times that his first preference is staying in Utah. BOOZER BABBLE: According to a weekend report from The (N.J.) Record, New Jersey Basketball boss Rod Thorn said, "Obviously we're not going to be signing a guy (at) 10, 12 million dollars a year." "That," the newspaper reported, "makes it doubtful the Nets will get in the mix for ( Jazz forward) Carlos Boozer, if he opts out of his contract." The New York Post has floated Jersey as a potential sign-and-trade destination for Boozer, whose primary suitor could be Detroit. MILLSAP MUSINGS: According to a recent report in The Oklahoman, "don't expect" Oklahoma City Basketball boss Sam Presti "to get involved in bidding wars for (Chicago's Ben) Gordon, Millsap or Turkoglu." E-MAIL:

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 30, 2009


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