One of Nazr Mohammed's younger brothers called the other day to commiserate.
The topic: big brother's move to Oklahoma City.
"Man, that's a young team," his younger brother said. "It's a good thing you hang with us during the summer."
Mohammed chuckled Saturday as he recounted the conversation.
"It's not like I'm an old guy," the 33-year-old said, "but this is my type of crowd."
The Thunder is hoping the fit is a good one. Much like Mo Peterson, Kevin Ollie and Etan Thomas before him, Mohammed is going to be expected to provide that wise, veteran presence for a team dependent on a bunch of young pups.
But unlike those other guys, Mohammed is going to be expected to play, too.
Maybe a bunch.
Mohammed will be in uniform today against the Lakers. Even though Thunder coach Scott Brooks wasn't sure Saturday afternoon how much he would use Mohammed after only one practice, don't be surprised to see the big man log at least 10 or 15 minutes against Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Co.
That playing time will rise since newly acquired big man Kendrick Perkins could miss another couple weeks with a knee injury. Add in the loss of Nenad Krstic, Jeff Green and D.J. White, and the Thunder front line is thin.
Even though Mohammed is the forgotten player in this week's trades, he will have an impact on this team.
Then again, you don't play 13 years in the NBA without doing something right.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti contends that Mohammed does lots of things right. He's accountable off the court. He's solid on the court. He's aware of his strengths.
Most of all, though, Mohammed takes his job seriously.
Presti knows that firsthand because he crossed paths with Mohammed in San Antonio. He remembers being in Detroit for a Christmas game and going to the hotel fitness center.
�And Nazr had already beat me there,� Presti said. �And he was lathered up pretty good.�
The Spurs weren't practicing that day and were giving the guys a day off.
�But he knew that (working out) was important for him to be ready the next day,� Presti said.
That sort of seriousness and professionalism caught the eye of Larry Brown not once but twice. The legendary coach was in Philadelphia when the 76ers made a draft-day trade for the Kentucky product in 1998, then made Mohammed a regular in Charlotte during the past few seasons.
If Brown likes you, that's quite an endorsement.
So is this � Gregg Popovich went after Mohammed back in 2005. The longtime San Antonio coach needed a backup for Tim Duncan, so the Spurs did a midseason deal for Mohammed.
They won the NBA title later that spring.
Payoffs such as that are the reasons that Mohammed is so serious about his craft.
�I feel like I'm blessed to be playing this game,� he said. �I've been playing it a long time, and I want to be able to continue to play it.
�I'd like to think I'm known as a professional around this league.�
Now, don't misunderstand, Mohammed is about more than intangibles. A couple weeks ago, he and the Bobcats walloped the Lakers by 20 points in Charlotte.
Mohammed's stat line: 16 points, three rebounds, two assists, one block.
He can play.
Presti said, �He has the opportunity to help us.�
If all goes as planned, he'll do that in more than one way and he'll start doing it today.