Hedo Turkoglu Likes the Fans, Teammates and Toronto—Just Not The System

Pompaci BehcetContributor IJune 29, 2010

Hedo Turkoglu, yet again, spoke to the Turkish media for a second time this offseason to clarify his earlier comments and do some damage control. More interestingly, he seems to pose in his Toronto Raptors athletic wear while working out in his native Turkey.

Just by picture alone, one could easily assume two things. He still considers himself as a Raptor, and he is trying to get back in better shape. None of the above bothers me...

His message is sound and clear—not to mention more mature. He corrected his earlier statement, the one when he said that he did not want to go back to Toronto. He confessed that he gave the interview in the "heat of the moment".

The Turkish pick and roll king appeared out of nowhere in Turkish media and demanded to be traded earlier this month. He accused the Toronto Raptors management of purposely throwing him under the bus over a very simple incident.

The Toronto Raptors so called push for the playoffs was cut short after they fell down from fifth spot in the Eastern Conference after the All-Star break. Hedo Turkoglu was fined and benched for a game after he was allegedly seen in a restaurant following a game he called in sick.

This morning, another piece on Turkoglu was published at sporx.com, a leading Turkish language internet-based sports website, where he responded to the questions of the editor-in-chief of said news outlet.

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He says that the Toronto Raptors do not have an established offensive system, unlike the Orlando Magic.

He was mainly used as a spot shooter and he tried to do the best he could under the circumstances. He clarified his earlier comments, and said he meant that he did not want to play in that system, and that he has no problems with the city or the fans.

He added that he was confident that offensive and defensive scheme would be changed, because it clearly wasn't working for him or for the team, and that was all he wanted to "scream out" throughout the whole season.

When he is asked if the problem with the system was that offense was run too much over Bosh, he responds: "No, I can't say that. Chris Bosh is a perennial All-Star and I enjoy his game very much. The offense is naturally built around Bosh, but the issue was my role in that offense."

He says he will be having conversations with the coach and the team officials. He cites that last season was his first in Toronto and he got to know the organization, the city and the culture. Turkoglu says he just wants to play basketball in the best way he can.

He says that he did not contact any team but the Toronto Raptors during this period. He says he is under contract and, after all, he really likes the people and the city despite the cold weather—jokingly. If a trade does occur, it would be team's decision and he has no control over it.

He was asked if he had any problems with the fellow teammate Jose Calderon, and his answer was: "Jose has been taking on the team's assists load for years and I used to do the same in Orlando. Naturally, both he and I struggled to adapt to the new situation. But he is a very successful European guard and I am sure we will work it once we communicate better."

About Chris Bosh's possible departure, Turkoglu commented that the chances of his leaving are not as high as people are making it out to be.

Those are the exact words I would like to hear from Turkoglu at this point. He said all the right things. 

He basically apologized for his earlier comments and gave the impression that he was sorry and made it clear that he's willing to work out whatever needs to be worked out.

His trade value is very low right now. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that fans would rather have Andres Nocioni over Turkoglu. Even if he is be traded in the future, for Byran Colangelo to get decent talent, Turkoglu needs to bounce back.

But for all intents and purposes now, Turkoglu remains a Raptor. Considering Calderon is likely to be traded, a motivated and in shape Hedo Turkoglu would be a real asset for the Raptors next season.