After a solid 2013-14 campaign splitting time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers, shooting guard Evan Turner has signed a contract with the Boston Celtics.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has more details on the deal:
Celtics finishing deal for FA Evan Turner, sources tell Herald. He will get a portion of their mid-level exception.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 21, 2014
The Pacers declined to tender Turner an offer sheet after last season, making him an unrestricted free agent. Indiana could have had matching rights had it given him the $8.7 million tender—a move most expected when he was acquired from Philadelphia.
With Lance Stephenson signing with Charlotte, the Pacers could have considered keeping Turner around on a lesser salary. Their signing of Rodney Stuckey at the veteran's minimum all but negated that possibility.
As a reserve in Indiana, Turner didn't often mesh well with his teammates. When acquired, Turner's presence in the lineup disrupted the overall chemistry of what was previously a cohesive unit.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philly.com noticed how out of place Turner looked and wrote, "After depth was targeted as an issue to address for Indiana, Turner was brought in to provide a bench boost, but he struggled fitting into a new system, and he has not been able to contribute consistently without the ball in his hands."
The 6'7" guard even acknowledged the fact that adjusting to his role in Indiana was difficult, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
"I'm just trying to make the right plays here," Turner said. "Some nights I get two shots, some nights I get 10 or 12. I'm trying to get acclimated."
His frustrations reached a boiling point, as he and Stephenson even found themselves in a fistfight during practice, as Wojnarowski noted. Both players, however, denied it.
Pacers’ Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner deny throwing punches in practice ‘scuffle’ http://t.co/kwifwQnddU— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 23, 2014
Turner went on to average just 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 21.1 minutes per game for the Pacers after averaging 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 34.9 minutes per game in Philadelphia. He had been largely successful in Philly ever since the 76ers took him with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft.
Boston will need to get Turner looks and allow him to be the volume scorer that he was with the Sixers for the better part of four seasons. A career 42.7 percent shooter, Turner will provide an instant offensive boost to the Celtics.
It will be interesting to see if Turner can begin realizing the promise that made him a collegiate star. If not, his career might be on its last legs. Fortunately, he'll have a couple of complementary pieces in Rajon Rondo and rookie Marcus Smart to help his cause.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR