Updates from Friday, Jan. 17
The Clipppers report that Turkoglu is active for Friday night's game:
Hedo Turkoglu is active tonight. Byron Mullens will join Chris Paul (shoulder/not with team) on inactive list.— Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) January 17, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Jan. 16
Hedo Turkoglu confirmed that he is officially a member of the Los Angeles Clippers via his Twitter account:
Its official now , I'm a clipper— Hidayet Türkoğlu (@hidoturkoglu15) January 16, 2014
The Clippers later confirmed the deal as well, via their Twitter account:
Updates from Wednesday, Jan. 15
According to Arash Markazi, the Clippers expect Turkoglu to join the team on Thursday:
The Los Angeles Clippers will plan on signing veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu on Thursday, coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday night.
"We do anticipate signing him," Rivers said.
Rivers said he anticipated the Clippers signing Turkoglu before the Clippers leaving for their 12-day, 7-game road trip on Thursday.
He will likely be in uniform when the Clippers play the New York Knicks on Friday. Rivers would not discuss the terms of the contract but it is believed he will be signed for the rest of the season.
"He's another shooter," Rivers said. "Sometimes you don't bring a guy in because a guy is not doing something. You bring a guy in because he does something our other guys do as well. He's another shooter and can space the floor. He's very skilled. We would like to take advantage of that."
Turkish basketball writer Ismail Senol first reported the agreement, indicating that Turkoglu is still in Los Angeles to undergo the exam:
Hidayet Türkoğlu is in LA. Pending a physical, he will sign a contract with Clippers until the end of this season.— Ismail Senol (@ismailsenol) January 15, 2014
Although it was unclear when a deal would be signed, it became increasingly obvious this week that Turkoglu would wind up with the Clippers. Waived by the Orlando Magic on Jan. 3 so the team could save the non-guaranteed $6 million remaining on his deal, Turkoglu worked out in Los Angeles last Thursday and found multiple fans within the Clippers organization.
Chief among them was head coach Doc Rivers, who also has final say on all personnel moves.
"I just like him as a player," Rivers said, via ESPN's Arash Markazi. "I think he's out there and we should look at him. I've always liked him. He can play [the] three and four. It's a position that we can use in some ways, so we're looking."
The Clippers currently have 15 players on their roster, so they will need to release a player to fit Turkoglu under the NBA's roster restrictions. Guards Darius Morris and Maalik Wayns are both working under 10-day contracts, making them the likeliest candidates. Their deals expire Thursday, at which point a deal with Turkoglu will likely become official.
Adding Turkoglu and making a commitment for the remainder of the season could lock the Clippers out of the Andrew Bynum market. Bynum was released by the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 7 in a fashion similar to Turkoglu, and the Clippers' need for a big man behind DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin made them seem like a natural fit.
However, with Chris Paul out with a shoulder injury, one of the Morris-Wayns duo will need to stick around for a second contract, locking Los Angeles' roster for at least the next week and a half.
As for what Turkoglu can bring to the Clippers, that much remains unclear. Rivers gave the 34-year-old veteran a glowing review following his workout, and ESPN's Marc Stein reported that Turkoglu was "determined" to write his own ending to his NBA career.
There is just a big difference between working out against chairs and actual NBA usefulness. Turkoglu hasn't set foot on an NBA floor in almost a full calendar year, after the Magic decided they would rather pay him from afar than up close. And in his limited action in Orlando last season, Turkoglu averaged only 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while hitting just 26.4 percent of his shots.
Once one of the most well-rounded offensive wings in the league, Turkoglu's NBA twilight has been marred by attitude issues, performance-enhancing drug suspensions and a massive contract he failed to live up to.
It also remains to be seen what role Rivers envisions for Turkoglu. Though at 6'10" he has the length to play some stretch 4, he's going to be a defensive liability no matter where Rivers puts him on the floor. He also creates a bit of a roster redundancy, since the Clippers already have a proliferation of sweet-shooting wings who prefer to play just one end of the court.
Adding Turkoglu when a defense-first big off the bench is the team's most glaring need seems a curious move at best—or perhaps one that signifies another move is in the works. No matter the reasoning, Turkoglu has received his opportunity to write his own ending.
Let's see if he takes advantage.
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