How Should Philadelphia 76ers Handle Evan Turner's Contract?

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How Should Philadelphia 76ers Handle Evan Turner's Contract?
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Evan Turner Show is Philadelphia's latest reality sensation. It's an entertaining one.

Evan Turner is kind of like a random reality show on television. You know what you're going to see and there will be some random and crazy drama, but you still can't help but tune into the next episode.

We've been talking about Turner since the Philadelphia 76ers drafted him with the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NBA draft, and the talk hasn't changed much.

It's only evolved.

The chatter went from how the Sixers made a mistake in drafting him so highly, to "okay, he's proved that he can play, but is he worth keeping around?"

The answer is still unclear, yet it feels like Philadelphia may have already given an indication as to what could eventually happen.

USA Today writer Jason Wolf wrote about the Sixers failing to sign Turner to an extension by the Oct. 31 deadline. Here's what Turner had to say about the situation:

[First-year 76ers general manager Sam] Hinkie is not my GM. He doesn't owe me anything… We're going in different directions and everything like that.

Strong words from Philadelphia's leading scorer.

The obvious rift between Turner and the Sixers organization makes it unclear as to how the organization should handle him and his contract.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
New general manager Sam Hinkie has the final say.

Let's take a look at some of Philly's options.

 

Make a Qualifying Offer

The700level.com's Nick Menta wrote a great article on the Sixers and their options regarding players who are still on their rookie deals. Failing to sign Turner to an extension by the Oct. 31 deadline means that Philadelphia will have to give him a qualifying offer at season's end in order to keep him for another year. Menta describes it perfectly:

Should they opt not to extend him, the Sixers will have until June 30 to make Turner an $8.7 million qualifying offer after the season ends. A qualifying offer makes Turner a restricted free agent, meaning the Sixers would have the right match any deal he’s offered by another club, or let him walk.

This option will only be relevant if Turner is playing so well that Philly can't do anything but keep him for another year.

Evan Turner's Year-by-Year Statistics
Year Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Shooting Percentage
2010-11 7.2 3.9 2.0 42.5
2011-12 9.4 5.8 2.8 44.6
2012-13 13.3 6.3 4.3 41.9
2013-14 (5 games) 22.2 5.4 3.4 55.1

http://espn.go.com/nba/player/stats/_/id/4239/evan-turner

Who knows how well he will have to play to make that happen, though?

He's currently averaging 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 55.1 percent from the field—a whole 11 percent better than he's ever finished a season with. There's a very small chance that Turner finishes the season with these same numbers. He just hasn't proved that he's the type of player to maintain such great stats.

The reality of his situation is that he'll have to keep his numbers as high as they currently are if the Sixers are going to make a qualifying offer by June 30, 2014.

Failing to even talk to Turner about an extension by the deadline proves that the Sixers aren't high on him and his future with the organization.

He'll have to make it so that Philadelphia has no choice but to be interested in keeping him.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Turner's shooting the ball extremely well and with much more confidence than we've ever seen.

It's certainly a tall task for a man who's never lived up to the Sixers' expectations. 

 

Trade Him

Moving Turner to another team is the most immediate of Philadelphia's options, as they have until Feb. 20, 2014 to trade him.

A full four months before the qualifying offer deadline.

The advantage to less time is that it limits Turner's chances of having a bad second half of the season and hurting his trade value.

He might not have lived up to being drafted with the No. 2 pick quite yet, but at least one of the other 29 teams has to feel like he can contribute.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
Trading Jrue Holiday proves that nobody on Philadelphia's roster is safe.

For example, I actually think that Turner could add an incredible amount of value to a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves. He'll bring a defensive intensity and unique point forward feel that the T-Wolves don't currently have.

So what does Philadelphia get out of trading Turner?

The Sixers get two things. The first is that losing the 6'7" small forward will definitely contribute to Sam Hinkie's plan of losing as many games as they can in order to get a great draft pick. That plan hasn't exactly been executed too smoothly, but getting rid of Turner would easily put the team back on track.

The second is that he and Philadelphia will no longer have ties to each other. There appears to be some light animosity between the Sixers and Turner. It was perfectly clear in his quote regarding the lack of communication surrounding a contract extension. Ending a bad four-year romance might be in both parties' best interests.

Capitalizing on his impressive play will be crucial, though. The better Turner is playing, the more value Philadelphia will potentially get for trading him.

Trading him might not be in Philadelphia's best interest if the team won't be getting much back.

 

Verdict

The Sixers' best move is to take Turner's situation on a day-by-day basis.

What should the Sixers do?

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The season is still very young, but there's a chance of Turner changing both the team's and fans' perception of him. Continuing to produce at a high level could very well keep him in Philly if Hinkie believes he can contribute toward Philadelphia's future.

Hinkie will be using the same logic when it comes to trading Turner. If Hinkie believes that losing more games and getting a future draft pick are what serves the Sixers' best needs, then he won't hesitate to make the move.

Just ask Jrue Holiday.

With all of that said, don't expect Turner to be traded anytime soon. It'll most likely be into the new year before his name really starts to get thrown around. Sure, we'll hear his name here and there, but it really won't be much. December and January is when teams know who and what they have and are looking to improve at specific positions and certain areas.

Philly will have one eye on its record and the other on Turner as the season continues. If there appears to be a direct correlation between the two, then anything is possible.

Yes, even Turner remaining with the Sixers. 

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