Hedo Turkoglu and the Sacramento Kings: A Possible Reunion?

Mark BirdsellContributor IIIJune 9, 2010

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 02:  Hedo Turkoglu #26 of the Toronto Raptors against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 2, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Hedo Turkoglu has already made it known that he is not happy in Toronto and wants to play elsewhere next season.  Yahoo! Sports reported that Turkoglu is interested in rejoining the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings drafted Hedo 16th overall in the 2000 NBA Draft.  He played three seasons in Sacramento as a member of a perennial playoff contender.  Turkoglu spent his time there mostly as a member of a very talented bench group along with Bobby Jackson and Scot Pollard (a man who best known for having some of the weirdest hairstyles in NBA history).

Now after only one season in Toronto and fresh off the $53 million contract he signed in the offseason, Turkoglu is likely to be traded if any team is willing to take him.

A reunion with the Kings makes sense for both sides.  Sacramento is a young team in need of some veteran leadership, and its weakest position is at small forward.  Omri Casspi played well as a rookie, but he still needs to develop further.

Meanwhile, this would allow the Raptors to rid themselves of the disgruntled Turkoglu and add a couple talented players.

The most likely trade scenario would be a swap of Turkoglu for Andres Nocioni and either Jason Thompson or Spencer Hawes.

The Kings have been trying to find a team willing to take Nocioni for the last couple seasons.  He has two years and $13.5 million left on his contract (plus a team option for a third season).

Nocioni would fill the Raptors' void at small forward left by Turkoglu.  Nocioni is not nearly as talented offensively, but he is known as a tough, hard-nose defender.  He would give the Raptors a wing player capable of defending other teams' top perimeter players and should also help Toronto’s league-worst defense.

The Raptors would also likely acquire one of Sacramento’s young big men.  My preferred choice would be Jason Thompson over Spencer Hawes.

Thompson was selected 12th overall in the 2008 draft out of Rider.  In his brief two-year career Thompson has averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds per game.  He would help ease the transition in the post-Chris Bosh era. 

Sacramento currently has a problem that most NBA teams would love to have.  The team has too many young, talented frontcourt players and not enough minutes to go around.

Along with Thompson and Hawes, the Kings acquired Carl Landry from the Houston Rockets at the trade deadline in exchange for Kevin Martin.  Despite this, the team is expected to select DeMarcus Cousins in this year’s draft.

Unless another team trades up, it is presumed that Cousins will fall to the Kings, who own the fifth pick.  Since both New Jersey and Minnesota need more help on the wing and not up front, Cousins should be available when Sacramento is on the clock.

This trade would be beneficial to both teams.  It would provide the Kings with a veteran leader and allow them to consolidate the team’s frontcourt talent.  Even though it is nice to have a lot of talented players, there aren’t enough minutes to go around and ultimately someone is left sitting on the bench.

For the Raptors it would give the team two talented players who are willing to go out every night and play hard.  But more importantly they would be willing to rebound and play defense, something Toronto has struggled with over the last few seasons.

Nocioni is 31 years old and probably is not part of the future.  Thompson probably will never develop into the type of player Bosh is right now.  However, this is probably one of the best possible trade scenarios for the Raptors if Bryan Colangelo can pull it off. 

Since Turkoglu has a large contract and is coming off one of his worst statistical seasons in years, there won’t be a lot of teams lining up for his services.

The Raptors unfortunately are about to enter a rebuilding period, and this would be a great place to start. It will give the Raptors a nice young core of players to build around for the future.


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