There isn’t anything more annoying than a pouting professional athlete making an eight-figure salary.
And what Hedo did by giving that recent interview was act like a 19-year-old kid whose feelings got hurt. At 31, it’s time to grow up.
Maybe Turkoglu can grow up in time for next season. But he has to know that after complaining about the Raptors’ management, city, and fans, he’ll be in for a rough ride come preseason at the Air Canada Centre.
Turkoglu does have an easy out in Toronto. All he has to do to win back the fans is come to training camp ready to play, and when the season starts, play well. Then it won’t be long before last season is forgotten.
So, despite all the bad press, there is no assurance that Hedo Turkoglu will not be back in a Raptors uniform next fall. But for the moment, that scenario appears to be unlikely.
What can Bryan Colangelo get for his last big free agent signing if things can’t be worked out between now and later this summer?
Despite all the moaning and complaints from fans about Hedo’s less-than-decent season in Toronto, a bad season does not equal a bad player!
Turkoglu was a key starter in the Orlando Magic’s drive to the NBA Finals last season. And one can only wonder at just how much Hedo’s loss was the determining factor in coming up short during the Eastern Conference Finals this season.
Turkoglu will tell you he plays best with the ball in his hands. He is a creator and facilitator who does not play well without the ball.
And this was obvious in Toronto when he shared the court with Jose Calderon. Calderon is a traditional pass-first point guard who needs the ball to be effective. Turkoglu played much better with Jarrett Jack.
So, who are the teams most likely to be interested in Turkoglu’s services?
1. Toronto Raptors
Surprised? One shouldn’t be. If Toronto moves Jose Calderon in the offseason, Turkoglu is just the player the Raptors need at small forward to facilitate their offense.
2. Orlando Magic
Nothing hurts worse than not meeting expectations. Vince Carter couldn’t provide what Hedo Turkoglu did for them last season. If the Magic are willing to spend over their mistakes, they will trade to get Turkoglu back.
Gortat and Barnes or Pietrus and Bass are possible trades for Turkoglu.
Another team that didn’t live up to expectations. The Cavaliers have needed another facilitator to play with James and create offense when LeBron comes off the floor. And Turkoglu could have been the player who kept Cleveland’s offense from stalling every time James sat down.
Any deals done by the Cavaliers this off-season will be done with James’ blessings. If, of course, James’ blessings are required anymore.
Who Cleveland wants to move this off-season is still somewhat of a mystery, but possible deals include: Williams for Turkoglu or possibly West, Gibson, and Parker. (Assuming the reported $500,000 buyout of West’s contract is accurate.)
The Bulls are looking to be contenders next season and the one player they have signed to a long term deal hasn’t lived up to earlier expectations.
Luol Deng has four years and $51 million left on his contract and has yet to get back to the statistics that earned him that deal four seasons ago. But at just 25 years old, Deng still has the potential to earn his contract.
Could a straight swap of Turkoglu for Deng improve both teams' fortunes?
When Philadelphia let Andre Miller slip away to free agency last season, they lost their best (and only) playmaker. A team with playoff potential became an also-ran overnight.
Toronto has been looking for an effective shot-blocking defensive center. Samuel Dalembert is in the final year of that bad contract.
Turkoglu for Dalembert, straight up.
After last season, the Pistons are amiable to trades. And there are a lot of possibilities for both teams to consider.
The Pistons need a facilitator like Turkoglu. Without a traditional point guard anymore, the Pistons offense is suspect.
Tayshaun Prince is in the final year of his deal and may be the Pistons' best trade asset.
Prince for Turkoglu, straight up.
7. Portland Trailblazers
Portland wanted Turkoglu last season and he was probably a better fit with that roster than the one in Toronto. And next season, assuming everyone is healthy, the Trailblazers have more big men returning than they have places to fill.
Again, assuming Joel Przybilla picks up his player option, one would have to believe that he is available in trade. But would the career reserve center be considered adequate compensation? At least his salary is lower and Portland is beneath the cap.
Przybilla for Turkoglu.
8. Miami Heat
The Heat are well below the salary cap and are looking to add free agents. But they are also looking to add veterans to play with those free agents and at least provide the appearance of having a “team” for them to play with.
It could also be safe to say that Dwyane Wade has had it with making up excuses for Michael Beasley.
Beasley just makes half of what Turkoglu makes, but because the Heat are under the cap, that is not an impediment to a trade.
Turkoglu for Beasley. The Heat get a proven veteran, the Raptors get a young prospect.
If one listens to the noises coming out the frozen “North” (yes Minnesota is well north of Toronto), one might be led to believe there is a playoff team here, just over the horizon.
But if one listens carefully, the T'Wolves star player, Al Jefferson may not be in the team’s long term plans. And if the team drafts DeMarcus Cousins as some predict, Jefferson is likely on the way out.
The Wolves are young, have a very young (potential) star point guard and are without any true veteran leadership. Hedo Turkoglu could fill that void and make the team significantly more competitive next season.
But the Wolves should be able to get more than Turkoglu for Jefferson, and they need help at both wing positions. The Raptors may have to part with their prized rookie to get this deal done.
Turkoglu and DeRozan for Al Jefferson.
Last season the Spurs picked up Richard Jefferson in an attempt to bolster their line-up. Jefferson promptly had his worst season since his rookie campaign. It was apparent that Richard Jefferson was not a good fit on the Spurs.
Jefferson is coming into the final season of his contract that will pay him $15 million next year. Jefferson hasn’t lost his shot, and if his ankle problems have been resolved, he is a very good defender.
A lot would depend on a medical assessment of Jefferson. But if he checks out, he would be worth the risk. The Spurs first-round draft pick would have to come in any trade to offset that risk however.
Turkoglu and Banks for Jefferson and the Spurs first-round pick (20).
There are a lot of teams that could use the services of a playoff-proven veteran like Hedo Turkoglu.
At just 31 years old, Turkoglu has several good seasons left in him. Last season’s personal problems and bizarre injuries should not deter anyone from taking a hard look at what Turkoglu could do for them.
And depending on what Bryan Colangelo does with the rest of the Raptors roster, trading Turkoglu might not even be considered after July.