Nazr Mohammed

After 17 seasons, Nazr Mohammed contemplating retirement


Last season, Nazr Mohammed got on the court in just 23 games for the Chicago Bulls and played a total of 128 minutes. I’d swear Tom Thibodeu played Jimmy Butler that many minutes in one game (or at least would if he could). The season before Thibodeau had leaned on Mohammed’s defense off the bench, but last season he mostly just had a front-row seat for games.

Now Mohammed is faced with the question that eventually haunts all athletes: Is it time to retire?

Mohammed has played 17 NBA seasons, won a ring (2005 Spurs) and earned north of $65 million in salary. He’s had a full career. Yet virtually every player that walks away, regardless of when and why, misses the game and the camaraderie.

Mohammed was just far more honest and public about his concerns than most in a post on his blog.

I’m a free agent. After 17 seasons playing NBA basketball, I’m currently at a point where I’m trying to decide what I do next – continue playing basketball or pursue a post-playing career. There are a few factors in play that are making this decision kind of tough for me….

Years ago I decided that I was going to play until I couldn’t play anymore or until nobody else wanted me to play for them anymore – whichever came first. That way you know you have maximized your ability to compete as a professional athlete. And neither of those things has happened yet. It’s funny because I’ve found that over these last three or four years, so many times when I bump into a retired NBA player or even a guy who played overseas, they come up to me and say, “Hey, don’t stop playing. Keep playing until the wheels fall off!”…

But while I love playing basketball, I am considering moving on and taking advantage of some of the opportunities that are coming my way in the business of basketball. One of my goals is to one day become a general manager of an NBA team, and there are opportunities presenting themselves that will allow me to take a step in that direction and get my foot in the door. There are only so many jobs in the business of basketball and there are a lot of people that want them. So part of this for me is a fear of missing a good opportunity to get into a business that I definitely have a lot of passion for. On the other hand, while these specific opportunities will no longer be available to me in a year (if I decide to continue to play), there’s always the chance of new opportunities arising.

Mohammed also said he really enjoyed broadcasting after going through the union’s program designed to help players who want to transition over to the media.

Like a lot of veterans, Mohammed said he’s not willing to just play anywhere anymore, there are only “8 or 9” teams he would consider. And not all of those require his services.

Mohammed is the kind of player that may not have an offer he likes on the table right now, but as training camp opens and teams get a better sense of what their weaknesses are (or, someone gets injured) his phone could ring. Does he want to wait that out or move on into more of a front office role? Or try to find a broadcasting fit?

Where Mohammed has an advantage over a lot of athletes facing the end of their career, he has other options.

Nazr Mohammed plans to play another season


The 10 oldest players to play in the NBA this season:

1. Andre Miller

2. Tim Duncan

3. Kevin Garnett

4. Vince Carter

5. Pablo Prigioni

6. Manu Ginobili

7. Nazr Mohammed

8. Jason Terry

9. Kenyon Martin

10. Paul Pierce

With Duncan, Pierce and Ginobili noncommittal about their futures, the 37-year-old Mohammed could climb the ranking next year.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Mohammed, who spent the last three seasons with the Bulls, will become a free agent this summer.

He’s a serviceable third center, though his production has slipped noticeably from even last season. At his age, it’s surely only downhill from here.

Chicago has plenty of talent in front of him with Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson (and Nikola Mirotic, who takes power forward minutes that could otherwise go to one of the preceding three players). The Bulls will likely keep another big for depth, but the stability of their top bigs could afford them to use that roster spot on developing a younger player.

It’s no lock an NBA team will sign Mohammed, but he seems to be liked by teammates and coaches. It’d hardly be surprising if some team sees value in having him around on a minimum contract.

Joakim Noah wins NBA Citizenship Award


Joakim Noah said making an anti-violence video helped him remain composed in an altercation with Nene.

The video also helped Noah win the NBA’s Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – given to “player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community” – over finalists Tobias Harris, Greg Monroe, Chris Paul and Zach Randolph.

NBA release:

Noah, a two-time All-Star center who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Bulls, has dedicated himself to helping children develop a stronger sense of self through his Noah’s Arc Foundation (NAF). The foundation recently launched the “Rock Your Drop: The Drop of Consciousness” anti-violence initiative, which supports those affected by violence and encourages youth to express themselves through creative outlets like sports and art.

NAF also produced the “You’re Not Alone” anti-violence video featuring first-hand stories from those who have lost loved ones to violence, including Noah’s teammates Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed and Derrick Rose. Last summer, in his ongoing efforts to raise awareness of gun violence and promote unity in Chicago, Noah and NAF debuted the #ChicagoStandUp public service announcement and hosted a basketball tournament that brought together young men from the south and west sides of the city.

“Joakim’s initiatives to slow the violence in Chicago should inspire us all to help in our communities,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “His creative, sustained efforts stood out in perhaps the deepest pool of worthy candidates in the 41-year history of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.”

No matter what LeBron James, Cardale Jones and Cavaliers fans think of how he carries himself at games, Noah has done plenty of fantastic work in the community. That’s what counts here.

Did Noah do more in the community than anyone else in the NBA? Tough to judge from the outside. The Professional Basketball Writers of America (which voted on the award) deemed him No. 1, at least. The Bulls big man seems as worthy as anyone.

Mostly, I’m encouraged by Robbins saying this might be the deepest pool of candidates in the award’s history. It seems NBA players have become increasingly involved in their communities, and that’s definitely a good thing.

Report: Jazz expected to buy out Kendrick Perkins; Cavs, Bulls and Clippers interested


Now that the trade deadline is done, buyout season begins in earnest. One of the strongest candidates to get bought out and join a contender is former Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who was traded to the Jazz as part of a three-way deal that sent Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City and Reggie Jackson to Detroit. The rebuilding Jazz don’t have much use for Perkins, even as an expiring, but Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is hearing that a couple of other teams do.

It’s tough to see where Perkins would get minutes in Cleveland. They just traded for the much younger and better Timofey Mozgov and already have a frontcourt rotation that includes Mozgov, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, plus some smaller lineups that feature LeBron James at the four. Even Brendan Haywood is probably more useful than Perkins at this point.

The Bulls are also not a logical fit, even though head coach Tom Thibodeau was an assistant on the Celtics team that won the title with Perkins in 2008. They already have a crowded frontcourt rotation with Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic. Adding someone else to that mix doesn’t make any sense, especially with Perkins’ limited skill set replicating Nazr Mohammed, the end-of-bench big the Bulls already have. If they are looking at the buyout market, a wing like Gary Neal would be a better move. Plus, Perkins and Noah don’t like each other.

The Clippers pursuing Perkins, meanwhile, is the most obvious thing in the world. Doc Rivers and Perkins go back to the Celtics’ 2008 title run, and Rivers still hasn’t gotten over his fixation with players who were valuable in the late 2000s. This is a roster that already features Glen Davis (also a member of that 2008 championship team), Hedo Turkoglu and Dahntay Jones. Perkins doesn’t have much value in 2015 beyond setting some hard screens and picking up some hard fouls, but Rivers loves his veterans. Don’t be surprised if this happens.

As limited as Perkins is as a player now, he was a beloved teammate in Boston and Oklahoma City, and contenders looking for veteran experience could do worse than adding him to the locker room. But that’s about it.

Bulls re-sign Nazr Mohammed, who once shoved LeBron James during playoff game


This offseason was an arms race between the Cavaliers and Bulls.

Cleveland signed LeBron James, traded for Kevin Love and extended Kyrie Irving.

The Bulls signed Pau Gasol, signed Nikola Mirotic and (hopefully) got Derrick Rose healthy.

At this point, it’s the Cavaliers and Bulls and then everyone else in the East. A Cleveland-Chicago matchup in the conference finals seems destined.

But within that top two, the Cavaliers have a clear edge. LeBron just does that for a team.

So, the Bulls need someone who can help them challenge LeBron, who  isn’t not afraid to stand up to LeBron, who will galvanize his teammates through his intensity against LeBron.

Someone like Nazr Mohammed, who shoved LeBron during a 2013 playoff game.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has re-signed center Nazr Mohammed

Mohammed becomes the Bulls’ 14th player, returning to Chicago for a third straight year. Last season, he set an NBA record for fewest minutes per game (7.0) by someone who played at least 80 contests.

This year, his role should be even smaller. Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson can all play center ahead of Mohammed, and with Mirotic – and maybe even Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott – getting minutes at power forward, there isn’t much room to maneuver Mohammed into the rotation.

At 37, Mohammed provides depth and little more. But if push comes to shove and the Bulls and Cavaliers in fact meet in the playoffs, maybe Mohammed can offer a little more.