Jazz say they have 'verbal commitments'

Updated: July 6, 2004, 10:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz have verbal commitments from restricted free agents Mehmet Okur and Gordan Giricek.

The Jazz would not release terms of either agreement, other than to say they were multiyear contracts, Utah vice president for basketball operations Kevin O'Connor said Monday night.

Mehmet Okur
Forward-Center
Detroit Pistons
Profile
2003-2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
71 9.6 5.9 1.0 .463 .775

A source told ESPN's David Aldridge on Tuesday that the Jazz wil sign Okur to a six-year, $50 million offer sheet next week, when Okur returns from Turkey. And ESPN Insider's Chad Ford reports that Giricek has agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with Jazz, according to a source close to the negotiations.

The Detroit Pistons will have 15 days to match the offer once signed, in which case Okur would return to Detroit next season.

The offer was first reported by the Detroit Free Press, which said the Pistons still were waiting to hear the official news from Okur's agent, Marc Fleisher.

Pistons president Joe Dumars said last week that it was unlikely the Pistons could afford to sign Okur as well as Rasheed Wallace, who's an unrestricted free agent.

Aldridge reported last Friday that the Pistons had offered Okur a six-year, $40 million contract to stay in Detroit.

Okur was expected to hear out offers from the Jazz as well as the Phoenix Suns before the deadline.

O'Connor confirmed that Okur had agreed to Utah's offer, but said he couldn't comment on what the Jazz like about him.

Okur did not visit the Jazz, but was impressed by caoch Jerry Sloan's willingness to play European players, such as Andrei Kirilenko, Raul Lopez and Alexsandr Pavlovic last season, a source told Aldridge on Tuesday.

Okur could help where the Jazz need it most. Utah struggled to score inside in its first season without Karl Malone and it got worse when leading-scorer Matt Harpring was lost for the season in January after knee surgery.

The 6-11 forward-center averaged 9.6 points in 22.3 minutes per game in the regular season and 3.7 points in 11.4 minutes in the postseason.

Center Greg Ostertag, who spent nine seasons with Utah, is an unrestricted free agent and it's unclear whether the Jazz will try to re-sign him.

Giricek joined the Jazz after coming over in a deadline deal with Orlando for DeShawn Stevenson. Giricek, who was a stronger outside shooter, averaged 13.5 points in 25 games with the Jazz. Utah was impressed with Giricek right away and made a qualifying offer for him to stay on July 1, the day free agent negotiations could begin.

The Jazz also have qualifying offers out on restricted free agents Carlos Arroyo, Jarron Collins and Mo Williams.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE