SATURDAY, 11:13pm: The signing is official, the Thunder announced today.
FRIDAY, 9:12pm: The Thunder intend to sign free agent Nazr Mohammed for the remainder of the season, Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports reports (on Twitter). Oklahoma City has an available roster spot, so no other moves would be required to bring the center into the fold. The team intends to ink the veteran on Saturday, Charania adds. It’s not entirely clear whether it’ll be a minimum-salary contract or one that eats into the roughly $2MM Oklahoma City has left on its taxpayer’s mid-level exception.
The move to ink Mohammed comes as a bit of a surprise as the big man had not been mentioned in any recent chatter. He last appeared in the NBA during the 2014/15 season, making 23 appearances for the Bulls and notching 1.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 5.6 minutes per contest. Mohammed’s career numbers since entering the league as the No. 29 overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft are 5.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.6 blocks to accompany a slash line of .486/.000/.639.
Mohammed was contemplating retirement in October, saying he would be OK with never playing again.“Truth is, I still love this game, I still have that competitor in me and I still feel like I can help a team. And regardless of what happens, I plan on staying in basketball shape,” Mohammed wrote at the time. “But at this moment, I am comfortable and confident saying that I’m cool with it being over. I am really at peace. I realize how big of an accomplishment it is to have played as long as I’ve played. It’s an unbelievable feat. I’m cool with not playing ever again and choosing which path to take at this fork in the road that leads me away from my first love.”
The Mike Higgins client said then that he didn’t want to merely be a locker room mentor and would only sign with a team that planned a legitimate on-court role for him. He also suggested that he’d like to join a team in a front office capacity at some point. It remains to be seen if the Thunder promised him significant playing time or if Mohammed simply had a change of heart. He’ll presumably compete for minutes at the pivot with Steven Adams, Mitch McGary and Enes Kanter.