Hedo Turkoglu remains on the Orlando Magic’s roster for now, but his days playing for the team are over. Although team officials and Turkoglu’s camp have not reached a buyout deal, both sides have agreed that Turkoglu will not join the team when it convenes for the start of training camp Tuesday or at any time after that. “Our organization has a great deal of respect for Hedo and the contributions he’s made to the team over the years,” Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel.
“We’ve made an organizational decision to move in a different direction. During the pendency of our buyout negotiations, we’ve mutually agreed to have Hedo remain with his family while we work toward an agreement.”
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Turkoglu's agent didn't immediately return a phone call for comment.
Turkoglu will turn 35 years old in March, and he doesn’t fit into the Magic’s long-term plans. Franchise officials would rather allocate playing time on the wing to younger players such as Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris.
The 2013-14 season is the final year of Turkoglu’s contract, and only $6 million of his $12 million in remaining salary is guaranteed.
The full $12 million amount won’t become fully vested until Jan. 10, which is the day when any remaining nonguaranteed contracts throughout the league become fully guaranteed.
So why haven’t the Magic just waived Turkoglu already?
On one hand, team officials want to negotiate a buyout for under $6 million.
But — and perhaps more importantly to them — the Magic seem to regard Turkoglu's contract as an asset and want to hold onto the contract until they’re convinced they’ve exhausted all options for a potential trade.
A 6-foot-10 forward with uncommon ball-handling skills for a player his height, Turkoglu has spent eight of his 13 NBA seasons with the Magic, and he remains one of the most popular and widely recognized players in franchise history.
He was the starting small forward on the 2008-09 Magic squad that reached the NBA Finals.
That season, he played his best in the playoffs, averaging 15.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in the postseason as the Magic won separate series over the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers before they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Turkoglu became a free agent a couple of weeks after the defeat in The Finals, and team officials decided not to meet his asking price.
After one disastrous season with the Toronto Raptors, he was dealt to the Phoenix Suns.
On Dec. 18, 2010, the Magic reacquired him along with Jason Richardson and Earl Clark in a trade with the Suns for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round pick and cash.
Turkoglu didn’t duplicate his prior success in Orlando.
Last season was a nightmare for him. He reported to training camp in good shape and seemed poised for a productive year, but he fractured his left hand during the regular-season opener.
In February, after he returned from the injury, the NBA suspended him for 20 games for testing positive for the anabolic steroid methenolone. Turkoglu said the positive test stemmed from taking a medication in Turkey during the offseason to treat a shoulder injury.
Turkoglu didn’t play in another game. When he returned from his suspension, team officials elected to give minutes to younger players.
As last season wound down, Turkoglu sensed the Magic wouldn’t want him back. He said he’d be “surprised” if the team brought him back for the 2013-14 season.
"I would be really surprised,” Turkoglu said. “It's not like something that I'll take personal at all. Sometimes, the business of basketball makes certain things happen. One of them is the way they're trying to get a new team, a new rebuilding situation. You have plenty of players in that position [at small forward]. I would love to [return], but I just don't see any reason for [them doing] it."
Osby, 4 others invited
The Magic formally announced Friday they’re bringing second-round pick Romero Osby, center Mickell Gladness, center/power forward Solomon Jones, forward Kris Joseph and guard Manny Harris to training camp.
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Osby, a 6-foot-8 forward, likely was signed to a partially guaranteed deal.
Gladness, Jones, Joseph and Harris almost certainly signed nonguaranteed contracts.
Jones, who is 6-feet-10, attended Mount Dora High and has the most NBA experience of the invitees. He has played in 270 regular-season NBA games for a total of five teams.
By all accounts, rookie Victor Oladipo has fit in well with the Magic’s legion of young players.
“Victor and I, we hang out a lot,” Harkless explained. “He said today that he’s an older version of me. We have so much in common it’s crazy. We’re always together, and he’s a great guy.”
Oladipo, the second overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, has a well-deserved reputation as a tireless worker. But he also has a funny, light-hearted side.
That aspect of his personality is on display on a video that Magic preseason invitee Kris Joseph posted on Instagram. The video shows several of the team’s youngsters running an out-of-bounds play after a recent workout on Amway Center’s practice court.
As Andrew Nicholson set a screen, Kyle O'Quinn lobbed an inbounds pass to Osby. Osby bounced the ball off the backboard, and Oladipo gathered it and bounced it off the ground.
Harkless grabbed the ball and unleashed an emphatic windmill dunk.
O’Quinn, Oladipo and Harkless then did a goofy dance.
It’s the most inventive video Magic players have posted to social media in years and it’s worth a look.
Former Magic power forward Brandon Bass deserves a salute.
On Friday, Bass was scheduled to take his first swimming lesson alongside a group of children from the Boys & Girls Club of Boston.
Bass, who grew up with no access to swimming pools, hopes he’ll inspire minority children to take lessons, according to The Boston Globe.
His 6-year-old son, Brandon Jr., already knows how to swim. His 20-month-old daughter, Bella, has started taking swim lessons.
The National Basketball Players Association has taken a step toward hiring a new executive director. The NBPA announced Friday that it has hired a Chicago-based firm to conduct an executive search. The union has been without an executive director since mid-February, when the union’s player representatives voted to fire Billy Hunter. . . . It didn’t take long for former Magic star Grant Hill to find a new vocation following his retirement from the NBA. Hill has found work with Turner Sports as an NBA analyst, and Turner recently announced that Hill will co-host “NBA Inside Stuff.” The TV show has been off the air since 2005, but it will return on Nov. 2 and will air each week. (Josh Robbins NBA Insider)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07
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