Hedo Turkoglu doesn’t plan on calling it a career and is looking at his NBA options carefully.
Turkoglu was waived by the Orlando Magic after two separate stints from 2004-09 and 2010-13, totaling 497 games that he suited up for the team. However, he didn’t go out on the highest note.
Last February, Turkoglu was suspended 20 games for the use of a banned substance received from a Turkish trainer. He ended up only playing 11 games due to the suspension and a broken hand that kept him out for a large part of the first half of the season.
Deciding that it’s best to go with the youth movement, the Magic decided to waive Turkoglu after trying to negotiate a buyout since last summer. Now on the market, there are a few options for him where he can still have a decent impact. There’s no telling how much is left in the tank, but it may be worth a try.
San Antonio Spurs:
Turkoglu had a brief stint with the Spurs back in the 2003-04 season, but will definitely be asked to do less with another try at it. His role would most likely be playing behind Kawhi Leonard as a backup small forward and also a few minutes at the stretch four position next to Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter.
Theoretically, this could be a fit (as far as being a 15th man goes), so it depends on whether the Spurs want to go the veteran route, take the chance on a younger player (one the team has in Malcolm Thomas already) or simply stand pat. Unless the Spurs really trust Turkoglu, which is doubtful since he hasn’t played a meaningful season in years, don’t count on this move to happen.
Los Angeles Lakers:
As one team previously interested in Turkoglu, the Lakers would welcome any sort of offensive weaponry the team can get on the cheap this season. The team refuses to give in to the idea of tanking, so Turkoglu provides an option that can help the team now.
Turkoglu provides a good balance with Wesley Johnson at the small forward position, while allowing Nick Young and Jodie Meeks to continue leading the backcourt. Turkoglu can work well in a stretch 4 position with Pau Gasol at the center spot as well. This is a team in which its offense is made up much more of the ability to score on the outside than in the paint, and Turkoglu can fit in well with that.
The Hawks were identified as another team that looked into trade options for Turkoglu last season, and still have a void at backup small forward that could be filled with him. Most of the minutes at the position go to DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver, but Carroll needs help at the spot while Korver is mostly busy at the shooting guard position.
The team can go very smallball with Turkoglu and Paul Millsap in the frontcourt, but that isn’t the most ideal option with a 34-year-old veteran and another big man who isn’t known for his athleticism. As a ballhandler and simply a shooter, Turkoglu may succeed in his role, but one shouldn’t expect a lot out of him at this point.
Los Angeles Clippers:
The two parties have already had discussions on a deal, so Turkoglu heading to Lob City is currently looking like the best possibility. The report mentions Doc Rivers saying the team will look for more options at guard with Chris Paul out with a separated shoulder. While Turkoglu is no point guard, he has above average ballhandling skills and has had plenty of time playing at the wing, despite being 6’10”.
Signing Turkoglu would put less pressure on Darren Collison, the current Clippers backup point guard, and also brings a better option to shoot from beyond the arc. Turkoglu has made his name off playing with the style of a guard in a big man’s body. That type of versatility will be highly valued on the Clippers.