Hedo Turkoglu of the Orlando Magic heading to Pistons, Spurs or Raptors?

Bhavik DarjiCorrespondent IJune 16, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 11:  Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic reacts in the final minute of the fourth quarter in Game Four of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 11, 2009 at Amway Arena 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.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

After following a great performance in the 2009 NBA Playoffs and Finals, the Orlando Magic have some key decisions to make.

Or maybe its Hedo Turkoglu that needs to make a key decision.

Perhaps both? Yes, possibly

The Orlando Magic have five players coming off the books and off into free agency this year. That includes Hedo as well as Adonyle Foyle, Marcin Gortat, Tyronn Lue, and Jeremy Richardson.

Most of these players the Magic would let walk, with the exception of Gortat and Hedo.

Gortat only played 12.6 MPG this season and averaged 4.5 RPG and 3.8 PPG. That is pretty good for a guy who only plays 12.6 MPG. Expect the Magic to work hard to retain Marcin Gortat.

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As you can see, almost every player took a hit every single category this season (expect GPY which stands for Games Per Year). Nelson is the only one that has improved, which could explain less productivity from Lewis, and Turkoglu. Courtney Lee could also be the reason this some of the players' productivity has decreased.

Now, Hedo Turkoglu is currently getting paid $7.6 million a year, and has announced through his agent that he will be opting out of his final year to become a free agent. Hedo will be looking to get paid more than what he is currently getting paid, but can the Magic afford him?

They could try trading away some players to make room for Hedo, but the luxury tax threshold might be in the high $60 millions next season.

"We're not a team that would relish being in the tax, and with that said, we have our work to do, and we'll do our due diligence in doing our work. We like Turk, and we want to keep Turk here in a Magic uniform, but there are some challenges in doing that," Orlando general manager Otis Smith told ESPN.com on Saturday.

"Management doesn't want to be a tax team, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. We haven't been a tax team in three years, but that doesn't necessarily mean we won't be going forward."

If it wasn't for that huge Hall of Hame-like contract that Otis Smith offered Rashard Lewis, the Magic wouldn't be in this predicament. If it wasn't for Lewis though, they wouldn't be where they are.

There is always at least one player every year that gets a contract that he won't live up to. Last year, it was Golden State's Monta Ellis getting $66 million. Three years ago, it was the Bulls giving Big Ben $60 million. Hell, the Cavs gave Larry Hughes $70 million!

Where are half these guys right now?

Then the Magic were next to follow, offering Lewis $113 million for six years. That's around $18 million a year!

"We have a plan, we're in motion on the plan. Yeah, it would be a key loss to lose Turk because he's been such a vital part of what we do for a number of years," Smith said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean we're going to break the bank to keep him or not break the bank to keep him, it's just that he's a vital part of what we do."

That plan could be to move "Skip to My Lou" Rafer Alston, as well as Tony Battie and Anthony Johnson. Those moves, though, could hurt the Magic in the bench perspective.

Hedo is the commander on the floor, and is the go to guy in those clutch situations. Losing him would mean losing a chance at the NBA Championship. 

It would also mean that Nelson would have a chance to expand as a player and become that 20 PPG point guard.

With that all said though, the Pistons could be a possible destination for Hedo.

They have a lot of cap room this offseason and are going after the bigs this year in Lamar Odom, Carlos Boozer, and Hedo. The Pistons have enough to sign two high-level superstars and work their way back into contention without having the need to rebuild young.

The Raptors are also a viable option. They recently lost Jason Kapono, their only consistent three-point shooter to the 76ers, in exchange for Reggie Evens. They need a strong player at the three spot and that could convince Bosh to stay for many years to come.

Hedo would also have the luxury with playing along side a a past-first point guard in Jose Calderon.

There is probably a big chance Hedo wants to go to a team that can contend. He is 30 years old, and after that he will no doubt be declining.

If anywhere, I expect him in San Antonio if they are able to afford him. Another possibility is the Portland Trailblazers. They are not contenders, but they could be in three to four years.


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