by Jack Maidment
Fresh off of a trip to the NBA Finals, the Orlando Magic’s free agent small forward Hedo Turkoglu has elected to join the Toronto Raptors after much switching and swaying.
It was widely believed that Turkoglu had agreed terms with the Portland Trailblazers for 5 years and $50 million. However, Toronto offered $6 million more for his services and looked to have signed Turkey’s finest export.
The move forces the Raptors to allow their free agents, Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino and Anthony Parker, to seek employment elsewhere or face the penalty of the luxury tax.
Turkoglu’s decision further emphasises the dominance of money in today’s game: he trades playoff contention with the Blazers and the Magic for a team which was flat out awful last year.
The hope for the Raptors is that Turkoglu can fire this team back into the playoffs and in so doing keep Chris Bosh in Toronto. Two big tasks indeed.
But, on paper at least, the Raptors should be infinitely better this year: Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani in the middle, Hedo at the 3, DeMar DeRozan growing into the 2 and Jose calderon running the floor at the point.
Add the toughness of Reggie Evans and the addition of one scorer on the bench and Toronto will be back in the mix for the 5,6,7 and 8th playoff spot in the East.
The Blazers are left to wonder what might have been as Turkoglu’s experience was what they needed to go deeper into the playoffs. It remains to be seen if they will move for anyone else this off season.