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Tag:Hedo Turkoglu
Posted on: July 1, 2009 7:18 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2009 2:20 am
 

Free-Agent Buzz: Artest to Cavs? (UPDATE)

You want buzz? How's Ron Artest playing on the same team with LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Cavs -- and LeBron himself -- are recruiting Artest to form a new Big Three in Cleveland that would be entertaining, potentially combustible, and perhaps even really, really good. The possibilities are endless -- great quotes, controversies, Artest advocating for LeBron in the LeBron-Kobe debate. Maybe even a championship.

Artest has been fielding offers from several teams, but so far the most impressive has to be Cleveland's courtship, which included LeBron making an in-person pitch recently when both players were in Los Angeles for events. This could develop quickly; a person close to Artest indicated that the small forward was expecting to start sorting through offers as early as Wednesday night.

By joining the Rockets last season and not making any waves -- not to mention his mostly effective contributions in the playoffs -- Artest earned himself one more free-agent score. And the value won't necessarily be measured in dollars, but in the opportunity to win a championship. For that reason, and in order to repay the Rockets for taking a chance on him, Artest had been leaning toward returning to Houston. But the possibility that Yao Ming could miss the entire 2009-10 season has changed everything.

Artest made several conspicuous appearances at Lakers home games during the Finals, and L.A. could be a formidable competitor for Artest's services -- especially if the Lakers lose either Lamar Odom or Trevor Ariza, both unrestricted free agents.

The most the Cavs can offer is the mid-level exception of about $5.6 million, and Artest figures to do better elsewhere -- in terms of dollars but not opportunity. At various times during the past two years as he approached free agency, Artest repeatedly said he wasn't looking for one more pay day, but rather for the chance to win a championship. The opportunity has arrived.

Here's more free-agent buzz from conversations with executives, agents, and others in the know:

* After CBSSports.com reported early Wednesday that the Trail Blazers were aggressively pursuing Hedo Turkoglu, the free-agent forward will receive a visit from Portland coach Nate McMillan Wednesday night in Orlando. Turkoglu is expected to accept the team's invitation to tour Portland and the Blazers' facilities on Thursday. An offer -- believed to be a five-year deal in the $50 million range -- is expected to be extended at that time. As many as five teams have inquired about Turkoglu -- some with cap room, some without, according to agent Lon Babby. One of them is not the Detroit Pistons, who have focused their attention on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

UPDATE: The Raptors are debating whether to make a pre-emptive offer to Turkoglu that would top Portland's, but that would require renouncing the rights to Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino, and Anthony Parker. Another option is to keep those players and sign a mid-level free agent. If the Raptors decide to go for a bigger name, Turkoglu isn't the only one they're considering. They also have interest in Knicks restricted free agent David Lee.

* The Knicks rolled out the red carpet for Jason Kidd at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, but the Mavericks still have the advantage in their efforts to retain the future Hall of Fame point guard. A person familiar with the talks said there are strong indications that Mavs owner Mark Cuban is willing to offer Kidd a three-year deal, which is well beyond what the Knicks are prepared to offer.

* Suns free agent Grant Hill received an in-person pitch from Steve Kerr in Orlando after free agency opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and has been invited to visit the Knicks next week. The Celtics, who are heavily recruiting Rasheed Wallace, also have expressed interest in Hill.

* If Trevor Ariza feels slighted that all the Lakers can offer him is the mid-level exception, it's not clear where he's going to do better than that on the open market. One rival executive believes the Lakers have prioritized Ariza over their other unrestricted free agent, Lamar Odom, and several sources believe they still have a chance to retain both. The Spurs have expressed interest in Odom, as well as Marcin Gortat (courted by the Rockets), and Antonio McDyess.



 

Posted on: July 1, 2009 1:18 am
Edited on: July 1, 2009 10:37 am
 

Blazers make play for Turkoglu

Determined to make the first splash of the NBA's free-agent negotiating period early Wednesday, the Portland Trail Blazers are making a strong push to sign Hedo Turkoglu, the prized free agent of the summer.

While negotiations across the league were in the early stages, a person with knowledge of the discussions said the Blazers are trying to lure Turkoglu with a deal in the $50-million range. Contracts cannot be signed until July 7, when the annual moratorium on signing and trading players is lifted.

Other teams expected to make a play for Turkoglu, who earned a huge pay day by helping Orlando get to the NBA Finals, were Toronto, Detroit, and Sacramento. The Magic, who acquired Vince Carter from the Nets on the belief that they could not retain Turkoglu, are not expected to be a factor in a situation that involves Turkoglu getting $10 million a year.

UPDATE: Turkoglu's agent, Lon Babby, told the Oregonian that the Blazers were the first team to call. "They were enthusiastic and well received by us," Babby said. "We are engaged in the process. We will see where it takes us in the next couple of days and take it from there."

GM Kevin Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn first called Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, who are seeking extensions from the team, the Oregonian reported. In order to clear cap space for Turkoglu, the Blazers likely would have to renounced their rights to both Joel Freeland and Petteri Koponen, both playing overseas.

UPDATE: Several team executives confirmed the Blazers' interest in Turkoglu Wednesday. But as is usually the case, the Blazers were operating in somewhat of a clandestine environment. One agent who has been in contact with numerous teams since the free-agent bell rang at 12:01 a.m. said Blazers officials insist the talks with Turkoglu were still in the developing stages. It's difficult to imagine where Turkoglu would do better than the Blazers, though. The Pistons, according to sources, are targeting Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Oklahoma City -- another rare team with cap space -- appears to be focused on restricted free agent Paul Millsap or New York's David Lee.
Posted on: June 29, 2009 11:52 pm
 

Boozer's decision

A few months ago, Jazz forward Carlos Boozer was so convinced he would opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent that he proclaimed, "I'm opting out, no matter what. I'm going to get a raise regardless."

Things change.

Less than 18 hours before Tuesday's deadline for players with early termination clauses or player options to notify teams of their intentions, there has been no word from Boozer's camp on whether he will choose to hit the unrestricted free-agent market at midnight Wednesday. One sticking point could be the part about Boozer believing he would "get a raise regardless." Due to make $12.7 million next season in the final year of his deal, Boozer may be stuck in the wrong free-agent class.

He's a 2010 free agent trapped in a 2009 free agent's body.

Only a handful of teams have enough cap space to sign a max player, the Pistons being chief among them. According to sources, the Pistons are expected to reach out to Boozer, Hedo Turkoglu, and Ben Gordon when the negotiating period begins. Oklahoma City and Memphis also are flush with cap room, but neither team is expected to make a big splash this summer. So does Boozer want to walk away from $12.7 million based on one team making it worth his while?

An Eastern Conference executive said Monday night it's feasible that Boozer backtracks on his opt-out guarantee, picks up his player option for next season, and makes another run at free agency in 2010, when numerous teams will have money to spend.

"That wouldn't be the least bit surprising," the executive said.

Boozer's agent, Rob Pelinka, did not return a call seeking comment Monday. Pelinka has another, more famous client in the same position as Boozer: the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, who is widely expected to terminate his contract with the intention of re-upping with L.A. But Bryant's situation is more complicated -- isn't it always? -- because he can make the Lakers sweat while they try to re-sign free agents Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom and while Phil Jackson decides whether to return for the final year of his contract.
 

Posted on: June 29, 2009 6:18 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2009 11:32 pm
 

Villanueva: Cavs' missing piece? (UPDATE)

With the stunning news that the Milwaukee Bucks decided Monday not to make a qualifying offer to Charlie Villanueva came confirmation of what we already knew: This is going to be a strange free-agent signing period in the NBA, one in which conventional wisdom need not apply.

By dumping Richard Jefferson on the Spurs, the Bucks seemed to be clearing cap space to keep restricted free agents Ramon Sessions and Villanueva. But Sessions got a qualifying offer and Villanueva didn't, making him an unrestricted free agent at midnight Wednesday.

In a league that is increasingly becoming about the haves and have-nots, one team's problem is another team's savior. Fresh off their pre-draft acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal, the Cavs are looking for a versatile big man to complement the Big Cuyahoga while at the same time not clogging the floor for LeBron James. Enter Villanueva, who would appear to be an ideal piece for GM Danny Ferry's plan of making a serious championship run this season.

When the Cavs acquired Shaq, Villanueva wrote the following on his Twitter account: "Very interesting, Shaq to Cleveland, nice, all Cleveland [needs] is a PF now."

Also in that mix is Pistons unrestricted Rasheed Wallace, who could be an attractive option for Cleveland and Orlando, among others.

The problem is, the best the Cavs could offer Villanueva is the mid-level exception of about $5.5 million. Short of that, a sign-and-trade would work, but the Cavs divested themselves of their two most tradable assets -- Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic -- in the Shaq trade. The Villanueva decision also has a direct impact on the Pistons, who are among the teams with the most money to spend on free agents. Joe Dumars is believed to be targeting Carlos Boozer and/or Hedo Turkoglu. But the availability of Villanueva makes his decision a lot more interesting.

UPDATE: The Bucks' thinking behind not extending a qualifying offer to Villanueva was discussed internally at least two dozen times, a person with knowledge of the situation said. The person, who is familiar with the team's strategy, said matching Villanueva's offers as a restricted free agent -- or possibly keeping him on the one-year tender for about $4.7 million -- would've rolled back the flexibility general manager John Hammond had just achieved by trading Jefferson, who was due $29.2 million over the next two seasons.

Whereas most observers -- including rival team executives -- believed the Jefferson trade opened the door for Milwaukee to re-sign both Villanueva and Sessions, there's a chance the team won't keep either one. The organization is determined to get out of the rut caused by overpaying the likes of Bobby Simmons, Charlie Bell, and Dan Gadzuric in similar situations in the past. If the offers received by Sessions on the restricted market are fair, Milwaukee will match. If not, the team is planning to hold the line on not overpaying.

Another factor with Villanueva is that, given the economy and dearth of teams with cap space to sign free agents, the organization believes it is feasible that Villanueva won't be blown away by free-agent offers and thus would have been inclined to accept the one-year offer for $4.7 million. The Bucks didn't want to be in a position of having to rescind the non-binding qualifying offer, which would've hampered Villanueva's efforts to land a free-agent deal. Having chosen to get their financial house in order and preserve the possibility of being as much as $7 million under the cap in 2010, the Bucks' hierarchy felt it was better to be up front with Villanueva and allow him unfettered access to the free-agent market. Although a sign-and-trade technically remains an option, the Bucks aren't interested in jeopardizing their roster and cap flexibility by taking on the kind of contracts that would come back in such a deal.

___

Clearing up one piece of draft business: While one of the many executives who spoke with the Nets on draft night came away convinced that the team had selected Terrence Williams for someone else with the No. 11 pick, a person with knowledge of the situation said Monday that T-Will is most likely to stay in New Jersey. On the heels of trading Vince Carter in the hours before the draft, the Nets had conversations with numerous teams involving, among other things, the No. 11 pick. Nothing came to fruition, and while the Nets are still listening, it appears that Williams is staying put for now.


Posted on: June 22, 2009 6:33 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2009 10:08 pm
 

Draft buzz and Amare trade talks (UPDATE)

This is the one time of year when the job of an NBA executive doesn't differ much from that of an NBA writer. Half the job is trying to separate the real buzz from the B.S.

In my efforts to do so, here is what I think I know with about 72 hours left before Thursday night's draft, coming from NBA executives who think they know:

* The Wizards are as strong a bet as any team in the top eight to trade down from their current perch at No. 5. Facing luxury-tax consequences and needing to open up a roster spot, the Wiz are considering numerous scenarios. Two people familiar with the talks confirmed that Washington discussed swapping the No. 5 and No. 14 picks with Phoenix in a trade that would've sent Amare Stoudemire to the Wizards. Phoenix also would've gotten one of the Wizards' young guards -- either Nick Young or Javaris Crittenton. But Washington walked away when the Suns asked for Caron Butler.

* Word is that Portland is extremely active in its attempts to trade up from No. 24 to an area from 8-14, where the Blazers are confident they could land a point guard. Portland hosted North Carolina's Ty Lawson for a workout Monday. A person familiar with the situation said the Blazers explored a trade involving the Suns' No. 14 pick. That deal also would've involved Stoudemire, a scenario that would've presented billionaire Paul Allen with three max players to pay over the next few years -- Stoudemire, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Those are big-ticket items, even for Allen.

* The Timberwolves, who have three first-round picks, appear to be positioning themselves to move up from the sixth spot and assure themselves a shot at Ricky Rubio. A deal with Memphis, which has the No. 2 pick, isn't out of the question. Another scenario has Minnesota involved with the Wizards in a deal that would send Washington's No. 5 pick to Minnesota. The T-Wolves would then have the ultimate flexibility -- knowing they could get Tyreke Evans or Hasheem Thabeet with the fifth or sixth pick if Rubio is gone and knowing they could parlay the fifth and sixth picks in a deal with Memphis to move up.

* Other than Minnesota, the team in the top 10 that appears the most motivated to move up is the Knicks, although trade talks with Washington involving Larry Hughes are accurate only from the standpoint that Jared Jeffries isn't involved; the Wizards aren't interested in adding money beyond next season. The Knicks, who pick eighth, clearly covet Rubio and Stephen Curry and have the assets to assure themselves a shot at one of them by trading up.

* Rubio is generating the most curiosity among team executives who are monitoring his situation, particularly with regard to Sacramento. It's widely known that Dan Fegan, who represents Rubio and Jrue Holiday, hired an agent who used to work for Jason Levien, the Kings' assistant GM who left the agent business last year to join Geoff Petrie in Sacramento. Levien's clients went to three different agencies, including Fegan's. If Rubio winds up going to Sacramento with the fourth pick, it will provide plenty of ammunition for conspiracy theorists who believe Levien's relationship with Fegan was the deciding factor. But one Eastern Conference executive described the situation more as "familiarity" between Fegan and Levien and between Levien and the international basketball community. Levien worked for agent Lon Babby when the Kings drafted Hedo Turkoglu, who at the time was the only Turkish player in the NBA.

* One executive said the most fluid players appear to be Holiday (who worked out poorly in his first visit with the Knicks), Earl Clark, and Demar DeRozan. "If they don't go early," the exec said, "they might be starting to slip and slide."

* Take the Magic's insistence that they will pay luxury tax to keep Turkoglu with a grain of salt, one exec urged. "All that means is there's no way they're going to be able to keep him," he said. Babby, Turkoglu's agent, said during the NBA Finals that Turkoglu already has decided to opt out of his contract and test the unrestricted free agent market, where he will generate enormous interest.

Posted on: April 13, 2009 4:36 pm
 

Hedo is OK

Relief would be a good word to describe the state of mind in Orlando Monday with word that Hedo Turkoglu experienced no swelling or discoloration in his sprained left ankle and will be good to go for the playoffs.

"To be quite honest, if this were a game we had to have, I think he could actually go (Monday night)," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said, according to the intrepid Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis (knee tendinitis) both will sit against the Bucks in Milwaukee.

If Van Gundy has been trying to hide his combination of horror and then relief over Turkoglu's injury, he's done a good job. If this were a long-term injury, you could pretty much take the same fork I told you to stick in the Spurs when they lost Manu Ginobili and apply it surgically to the Magic's title chances. This is a good development. The more  healthy contenders, the better. Can't wait for Saturday to get here.

 

 

 

 

Category: NBA
Posted on: April 11, 2009 10:37 pm
 

Hedo what?

Even when a team gives up on the regular season and tries to rest its stars for the playoffs, the injury bug finds them.

Before the Magic played the Nets Saturday night, Hedo Turkoglu sat casually in the visiting locker room, chatting with a teammate. In the hallway outside, coach Stan Van Gundy had just finished telling reporters how important it was to sit Rashard Lewis so his knees would heal for the postseason, and how he was going to limit minutes for Dwight Howard and Turkoglu the next few games. Van Gundy had decided to concede the No. 2 seed to Boston and focus on getting their bodies healthy for what they expect to be a long, rigorous postseason journey.

"We're like a punch-drunk fighter right now," Van Gundy said, "trying to stay on our feet."

Down go the Magic! Down go the Magic!

Nobody is immune to the rash of injuries to star players this season. What, is the championship going to be determined by default based on which team has five starters left for Game 7 of the Finals?

It's getting ridiculous. The Celtics taking every precaution with Kevin Garnett ... the Cavs without Ben Wallace ... the Lakers only now getting Andrew Bynum back ... half the roster in Utah ... Tyson Chandler in New Orleans ... I could go on, but I'd forget somebody. Or somebody else would get hurt by the time I finish this sentence.

The Magic dodged one major injury by trading for point guard Rafer Alston to replace Jameer Nelson, who is out for the year with a shoulder injury. Now they have to hope that sprained left ankle suffered by Turkoglu in the fourth quarter Saturday night is no worse than the X-rays said it was. X-rays were negative, and Turkoglu is listed as day-to-day. If I were Van Gundy, I'd bench Howard, Alston, Lewis, and assistant coach Patrick Ewing for the final two regular season games.

You never know, he might need Ewing to suit up for the conference semifinals.

If this trend keeps up, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to win the title. There'll be nobody else left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com