Turkoglu takes a shot at Bryan Colangelo

Jan 28, 2010 - New York, New York, USA - Toronto Raptors forward HEDO TURKOGLU celebrates a point during the NBA basketball game Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Toronto Raptors defeated the New York Knicks 102-101.

Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo has had a rough few months. Recently, he took a shot at Chris Bosh and implied that he quit on the team late in the season.

Hedo Turkoglu is no fan of Colangelo, and he had a few choice words about the situation:

“People have to realize something is wrong with that organization and nobody wants to go there any more,” he said in a phone interview from Turkey, where he is captaining the Turkish national team at the World Championships. “It’s not just the players who see this.”

“It’s funny that people will talk behind your back,” Turkoglu said of Colangelo. “If he was feeling this way, why not have the guts to say it during the season? Why not say it to Chris? Now that Chris has left, it’s not nice to say those things.

“Chris has been a franchise player and he did a lot of good things for the Raptors,” Turkoglu added. “I don’t think Chris is the type of player to quit on his teammates.”

Remember, Turkoglu was the one who agreed to terms with the Blazers last summer and then changed his mind because he wanted to play in the more cosmopolitan city of Toronto. So he’s a little flaky in his own right.

Still, the Raptors are a mess. Given his recent track record, I wonder how long they’ll keep Colangelo around.

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What are the Suns thinking?

Toronto Raptors Hedo Turkoglu walks from the dressing room before speaking to the media after finishing their NBA season in Toronto, April 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

After (justifiably) nickel-and-diming Amare Stoudemire, and watching him sign with the Knicks, the Suns are reportedly about to trade for Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress in two separate deals.

The Suns, according to the Republic, have agreed to send guard Leandro Barbosa and forward Dwayne Jones to the Raptors for Turkoglu, who badly wants a move after a rough first season with Atlanta.

In the second deal, Phoenix will acquire Childress in a sign-and-trade with the Hawks, who still hold Childress’ rights after the restricted free agent spent the last two seasons in Greece. The Republic reported that Childress has agreed to a five-year, $34 million contract with the Suns, who will use a portion of the trade exception created in Friday’s Stoudemire sign-and-trade with New York to absorb Childress’ contract.

The Suns will save about $7 million per season for the next two years by trading away Barbosa, but they’re committing almost $78 million in new money to Turkoglu and Childress, for a net of $64 million. Stoudemire signed for five years and $100 million.

I like Childress a lot, especially in this offense, but trading for Turkoglu? Really? Wouldn’t it be better to hold on to Stoudemire than to ask a 31-year-old small forward to play power forward?

Granted, the Suns options are pretty slim now that the top free agents have already signed, but Amare signed early, so they had time to make a run at Carlos Boozer or David Lee and were either unable or unwilling to land either player.

Hedo Turkoglu wants out of Toronto?

The answer is a resounding yes, assuming this translation of an interview he did with a Turkish sports program is accurate.

The disconnect stems from a midseason incident where Turkoglu was accused of being out at a bar after he was too sick to play against the Denver Nuggets. Here is his side of the story:

After a sleepless Thursday night and not having eaten much, they asked me how I felt. I explained the situation and said, “I didn’t sleep. I’m not feeling good.” Their answer was, ‘We shouldn’t put you on the court without practicing.”

Our Italian physiologists said, “You are not starting today. After training on Sunday you’ll give it a go against Miami and Charlotte.” I nodded and did some weight work on game day.

Although they allowed me to go home, I wanted to watch the game with my teammates. After the game, I went back home. Some European teammates called me and said, “Hedo, are you sleeping?” Then they told me where they were hanging out, which is actually 100 meters away from my home. I said, “OK” and when I arrived, all the guys were here. And if you check the camera records, you will see that I left there in 15-20 minutes with Andrea Bargnani. I guarantee it. And if they prove me wrong, I will give back my contract!

So Turkoglu admits to being at the bar, but says he was only there for 15-20 minutes and that it was not his decision that he wouldn’t play against Denver.

Obviously, it wasn’t a good decision to go out after not playing in a home loss, but if he was really told by the training staff that he couldn’t play because he hadn’t practiced and if he was really only in the bar for 15-20 minutes, then the incident was really blown out of proportion. The reaction had more to do with the frustration in the perceived falloff in Turkoglu’s game than it does with any single incident.

This raises the question — just how far did Turkoglu’s production fall? Raptor fans will have more insight into the subjective nature of this, but his points per shot (PPS) fell from 1.26 last season in Orlando to 1.24 in Toronto, which isn’t much. Moreover, his rebound rate actually increased while his assist rate stayed about the same. His averages fell because he was playing six fewer minutes and took four fewer shots per game. His FG% and 3PT% were comparable to his previous season in Orlando.

So this looks like a case of a team with high hopes having a very disappointing year (compounded by the probable loss of Chris Bosh) and the newcomer they had hoped would be the missing piece getting all or most of the blame when things don’t go as expected. Throw in a controversial trip to a bar and suddenly Turkoglu is the target of Toronto’s frustration.

Later in the interview, Turkoglu basically asked for a trade:

When the circumstances turned against me, I lost my enthusiasm for this city. My lawyers have talked to the front office recently. Honestly, I do not want to go back to Toronto. My lawyers talked to Mr. Colangelo and I hope that they will come up with a solution soon.

I understand that he feels betrayed, but I’d like to see Turkoglu try to put the incident behind him since nothing would have transpired had he not made the decision to go to that bar after not playing in a home loss. Even if it was only for 15-20 minutes, he created this situation. He may not like the organization’s response, but his poor decision put them in the position where they had to respond.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Hedo Turkoglu is concise, if anything

The Raptors beat the Knicks 106-104 in a thriller at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. Hedo Turkoglu posted 26 points en route to the victory and was asked to sum up his performance after the game. His response was short and hilarious.

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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