NBA Trade Rumors: Why Lakers Must Sign Hedo Turkoglu

Joshua J VannucciniSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 4, 2014

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 2:  Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic prepares for the game between the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic on January 2, 2013 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE  (Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Orlando Magic have waived forward Hedo Turkoglu, per, in an effort to shed salary. He hasn't played well the past few seasons (not at all this season), but the Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be interested in his services. Despite his poor play of late, it's a move the Lakers must make.

The Magic waived Turkoglu ahead of the January 7 deadline, ensuring the team only has to pay $6 million of the $12 million owed to the forward. He hasn't played a single game this season and just 64 games total the past three.

It isn't all Turkoglu's fault, though, as according to the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins, a fractured cheekbone affected him during the 2011-12 season. He then broke his left hand in the first game of last season, then went on to serve a 20-game suspension for violating the NBA's anti-drug program.

Turkoglu was less than impressive when he did play last season, averaging 2.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 11 games for Orlando. He shot an unsightly 26.4 percent, shooting even worse from three-point range with a 04.2 percent clip (yes, you read that correctly).

The aforesaid information regarding Turkoglu hardly makes a convincing case for LA to sign the forward. Yet when taking into consideration what he went through, it's understandable that he had no chance to find a rhythm.

The Magic's roster was in a state of flux, and there was no real role of Turkoglu to play. Even this season tells the same story, as he's yet to play a single minute for Orlando. Yet if the Lakers were to sign him, they'd receive a different player than what's been demonstrated lately.

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 10: Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic exchanges high-fives and handshakes with young fans on the court before a game on April 10, 2013 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
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Turkoglu built his career on being a versatile forward, capable of scoring and passing with ease. He's currently 34 years old, which indicates he'd still be able to contribute in the right role. As a reserve small forward, Turkoglu would be able to come in and provide scoring, distributing and shooting for the Lakers.

LA currently has just Nick Young and Xavier Henry listed as the small forwards on the depth chart, despite both playing out of position. Both are shooting guards, yet adding Turkoglu would bring a true small forward to the perimeter.

The Lakers have the second-best scoring bench in the NBA, according to Hoops Stats, trailing just the San Antonio Spurs. Turkoglu would strengthen an already strong reserve squad, even if it meant contributing in spurts.

With so many injuries to key players, this signing would add another veteran presence to LA. The Lakers are left with few distributors, but Turkoglu's career 1.80 assist-to-turnover ratio is indicative of what he can do with the ball.

It'd be a gamble in one regard, given his shaky play recently. Yet as previously mentioned, it isn't a move that will swing the fortunes of the Lakers. It'd be a minor addition at best, which could then evolve into more should Turkoglu play well.

In any case, it's a deal LA should ultimately pursue. Making the playoffs is surely the team's goal at this point, and signing the veteran swingman would be a plus in that department. Turkoglu is experienced and versatile offensively, and both are ticks in the checklist of Mike D'Antoni's offensive system.

The Lakers have a chance to add a quality small forward on the cheap, both areas being in LA's favor. The team needs all the help it can get at this point, with so many inactive players. Turkoglu can be a solid role player for the team and further strengthen the Laker bench.