Magic GM doesn’t think Turkoglu was worth $50 M

I think we can file this one under “obvious,” since the Magic didn’t re-sign Turkoglu, but it’s interesting nonetheless…

Per Real GM…

In a conversation with Blazers’ general manager Kevin Pritchard, [Magic GM Otis] Smith told Pritchard that he had “caught a break” with Turkoglu signing elsewhere and made it clear the Blazers “weren’t missing out on anything,” sources tell RealGM’s Alex Kennedy.

Smith didn’t feel that Turkoglu was worth the five-year, $50 million Portland was ready to spend.

Turkoglu is 30. If anyone thinks that he’s going to be worth $11-$12 million when he’s 34 or 35 and at the back end of this contract, I’d like to have some of what they’re smoking. But both the Blazers and the Raptors knew that in order to get Turkoglu to agree to a deal, it had to be a long-term contract.

Smith didn’t say this publicly, so I’m not going to blast him for throwing a former player under the bus. But it still seems odd that he’d be badmouthing Turkoglu — one of the main reasons the Magic made an appearance in the Finals — to other GMs around the league. When Jameer Nelson went down, Turkoglu took over the ballhandling duties and acted as a point forward. He ran countless pick and rolls with Dwight Howard, dished out a bunch of assists and hit several huge shots. Simply stated, Orlando wouldn’t have made it to the Finals without him.

Is he worth $10 million a year heading into his thirties? Probably not. But he’ll probably earn his keep for the first few years of that contract, and that’s all the Raptors are worried about right now.

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The Top 10 Head Scratchers of the 2009 NBA Offseason

The NBA offseason is by no means over, but the lion’s share is behind us, so it’s a good time to take a look back at a few of the…um…let’s say “questionable” decisions of the summer. Here are my Top 10, in no particular order. Feel free to add to the list if I missed something.

1. Trevor Ariza plays spiteful hardball…and loses.
Let’s get this straight — the Lakers offered Ariza the same deal he was getting on the open market, and he refused since the Lakers could have offered more, but didn’t? Um, okay. David Lee (the agent, not the Knicks forward) says that Ariza wanted to go somewhere where he’d be “appreciated.” Lee overestimated the market for his client, and the Lakers quickly moved on to acquire Ron Artest. Now instead of playing for the world champs, Ariza is stuck in Houston on a team that faces a very uncertain future. Lee now says that Ariza turned down a deal worth $9 million more, but still picked Houston. It sounds to me like he’s just trying to save face.

2. Grizzlies acquire Zach Randolph.
Once the Clippers traded for Randolph (and his toxic contract) last season, I thought the bar for NBA general managers had hit a new low thanks to Mike Dunleavy and his wily ways. But Dunleavy proved that he wasn’t the dumbest GM in the league when he convinced the Memphis Grizzlies to take on the final two years Randolph’s contract at the tune of $33.3 million. Remember that $25 million or so of cap space that the Grizzlies were going to have next summer? Yeah, that’s down to about $8 million with this brilliant move. Just when it looked like Chris Wallace was going to rehab his image after the Pau Gasol trade — Marc Gasol panning out, trading for O.J. Mayo — he goes and does this. Sigh.

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Turkoglu agrees to terms with the Blazers

Per TrueHoop…

Although a verbal commitment may be announced sooner, the terms of the contract cannot be finalized until Wednesday when the NBA informs teams what the 2009-10 salary cap will be.

The Orlando Magic’s recent trade for Vince Carter, who has a large salary and plays small forward — which is Turkoglu’s position — made it highly unlikely Turkoglu would be back in Orlando.

The Toronto Raptors expressed interest in Turkoglu, but were constrained by their other efforts to keep Shawn Marion and Carlos Delfino.

Turkoglu, a 6-10 forward from Turkey who played a prominent role in the Magic’s recent trip to the NBA Finals, had been looking for a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $50 million.

Five years and $50 million is a lot for Turkoglu, who is already 30 years-old and isn’t particularly efficient statistically. But his game is a pretty good fit for the Blazers, who want to space the court for Brandon Roy. Turkoglu is a good enough shooter to do that, plus he can handle the ball really well for a small forward, which help to take the pressure off of Roy. In fact, with Roy at the two and Turkoglu at the three, there’s enough ball handling there that the team doesn’t have to play with a traditional point guard. This may open up minutes for Rudy Fernandez, who was reportedly upset about the Blazers’ interest in Turkoglu.

The other thing to remember is that the Blazers’ cap space wasn’t going to last. They have to sign both Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge to big extensions as soon as this summer and Greg Oden will be eligible for an extension next summer. It was sort of a “use it or lose” it scenario for the Blazers, and owner Paul Allen has never been afraid to spend. They added a versatile, experienced small forward who proved in the playoffs that he knows how to win. $10 million per season is a lot for Turkoglu, but his game should age pretty well, so at worst the Blazers should get quality play for the first three or four years of the deal.

What’s lost in all of this is the fact that Orlando will not be bringing back the core that went to the Finals this year. Chemistry is a rare quality and the Magic may rue the day that they brought in Vince Carter and waved goodbye to Turkoglu. After all, there were two overtime games in the first four, and the Lakers won both. Had those games gone the other way, the Magic would have led the series 3-1 with Game 5 at home to clinch the title. They didn’t need to tinker this much, and GM Otis Smith may eventually regret it.

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