Omer Yurtseven looks back fondly on Miami Heat tenure amid new journey with Utah Jazz

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Omer Yurtseven is leaving the Miami Heat grateful that he got to learn in a competitive environment in his first two NBA seasons and will take those lessons with him to the Utah Jazz.

“I think it was more so the attention to detail that I took away,” Yurtseven said, according to Alex Vejar of the Salt Lake Tribune. “Overall, the competitive side was really helpful. And they had a really competitive environment, which allowed competitive players to thrive. I really appreciated that and kind of took that with me in terms of applying that to everything — in every drill, every day, every game.”

Yurtseven recently signed a two-year contract with the Jazz after playing as a reserve with the Heat.

The 25-year-old had ankle surgery and got into only nine regular season games for Miami last season after playing 56 games as a rookie. He appeared in 17 playoff games combined the past two seasons as Miami reached the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals and 2023 NBA Finals.

He averaged 5.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game playing about 12 minutes per contest in his two regular seasons with Miami. The lengthy playoff runs are a good example of how the Heat’s culture is known to breed competitiveness, and being part of those teams seems to have paid off for Yurtseven.

The Turkish national took part in the American NCAA system, having played at North Carolina State University and Georgetown University before signing with the Heat. He said he has not yet discussed what his role on the Jazz will be.

Yurtseven is the latest player to leave Miami this offseason, joining Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Victor Oladipo. The Heat’s offseason has revolved around their pursuit of Damian Lillard, but even though the 33-year-old has requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers with an intended destination of Miami, the sides do not seem close to a resolution of the situation.

Several NBA teams reportedly are interested in getting in on a possible Lillard deal, which could help Miami use Tyler Herro as part of any trade, which reportedly is its strong intention.

Miami has added Thomas Bryant and Josh Richardson and re-signed Kevin Love this offseason but has been unable to do much else while in a holding pattern. The Heat reportedly have been looking at Christian Wood, Edmond Sumner and Danilo Gallinari as other possible additions.

With Yurtseven now another player headed elsewhere, the Heat will have to find ways to add to their depth once the Lillard situation is sorted out.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.