January 5, 2013; Orlando FL, USA; Orlando Magic small forward Hedo Turkoglu (15) drives to the basket against the New York Knicks during the second half at Amway Center. New York Knicks defeated the Orlando Magic 114-106. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers Taking A Risk Signing Hedo Turkoglu

The Los Angeles Clippers announced Thursday that they have signed forward Hedo Turkoglu to a contract. The thirty-four year old free agent was recently waived by the Magic, having not played for them all season. The stubborn Turkish player was never going to bring much to a rebuilding franchise, but realistically does he have anything left to give to even a contender at this point in his career? It is absolutely a risk for the Clippers, for a number of reasons.

The Orlando Magic will have been glad to see the back of Hedo
Turkoglu. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Firstly Turkoglu’s physical ability would want to have been pretty special for the Clippers to take a punt on him. Not that they can have any player they want, but most available free agents would absolutely love to play for the Clippers right now, given their prime location and seriousness when it comes to contending for a title. Head coach Doc Rivers has always been a fan, but Turkoglu has not given anything to any team since the Orlando Magic reached the NBA Finals in 2009. He will hardly be asked to play serious minutes on this team, and if he can give this team anything in short bursts then his acquisition will be seen as a resounding success. Best case scenario, the Clippers have spent minimal coin on a forward who can play the three or the four, is big and physical, has a great touch for a big man, and can stretch the floor with his shooting from beyond the arc. That type of player is rare enough, and heading into the final half of the season and what the organisation hope is a deep playoff run, this really could turn into a shrewd signing. Problems may emerge if the Clip’s injury problems continue to mount, asking Turkoglu to play serious minutes is a massive ask at this point in his career. Then there is his personality which he will bring into the locker room.

Winning championships requires many things, and a balanced and happy locker room is certainly one of them. If signing Stephen Jackson was a risk in terms of locker room equilibrium, Turkoglu brings his own baggage too, even if Jackson is no longer with the team. At this point in the season the vocal leaders within the team have been set, and barring a blockbuster trade, any additions made to teams heading to the playoffs are bit part players who know their role. Does Turkoglu fit into the mold of that kind of player? Will he quietly sit in the corner and go about what little business the team gives him and needs him to fulfill? Rivers is a clever guy, and is the kind of coach who can get the best out of a player. Put simply, people want to play for him. Clippers fans will have to hope they see a focused and willing Turkoglu, not one who will disrupt the identity that this team has created.

This really could go either way, but right now Turkoglu does not deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise. Being asked to actively stay away from the team by the Orlando Magic before being waived also points to the fact that he may be more trouble than he is worth. Moving from the Magic to the Toronto Raptors, then onto the Phoenix Suns and eventually back to the Magic again in one year backs up the fact that this is a guy who struggles to settle and brings problems wherever he goes. It wasn’t always like this of course, and as stated if the Clippers get even a small bit of productivity and the right attitude out of him, it is an extra weapon coming down the stretch of the season. Clippers fans, are you happy he’s on your side now?

Tags: Hedo Turkoglu Los Angeles Clippers Stephen Jackson

  • Alfredo Rodriguez

    The only reason why Doc signed Turkoglu is two-fold: first, he was responsible for defeating his Boston Celtics in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Doc remembers things like this, just like when he witnessed Mullens last year. Turk’s record against the Celtics is meddling at best: 9-8, scoring 16.6 points per game as a Magic (The Raptor games were thrown out for the above stat). I don’t really consider him a Doc killer, but he seems to respect players who know how to defeat his teams.

    The second is because Doc has a farm trade ready in place, but he won’t pull it off until he is absolutely sure. In 2007, he and Danny Ainge traded seven players, draft picks and cash to get Allen and Garnett. I believe in history: if he did it once, he’ll do it again. The roster isn’t working, given the issues of a missing stretch 4, big man depth, and the Collison-Crawford conundrum. Mullens, Jamison and Hollins are bad big men. Dudley has been battling knee tendinitis and has underperformed. Barnes has been inconsistent. Crawford has outlived his usefulness. Doc also realizes that ever since Griffin’s unjust ejection against the Warriors, the Clippers need a true Big 3; the current edition of Paul-Griffin-Jordan feels like a fake. With that in mind, I think Doc is about to trade for either a defensive specialist or for a true superstar like Melo to give his team that true Big 3. The Big 3 of Pierce, Allen and Garnett defeated the almighty Phil Jackson and Los Angeles Lakers. The Big 3 of James, Wade and Bosh defeated Durant and the Thunder, and the invincibly good Popovich and the Spurs. Given how well Doc knows this, history is about to repeat itself.

    • Luke Duffy

      Thanks for the comment man! I do get what you’re saying, and I do believe Rivers is capable of trading the farm for a true star, or even two if he parted ways with Griffin, but I don’t for a second think it will be Carmelo Anthony!

      It is an interesting theory though to think that Turkoglu will be used in the bigger picture, but he has next to no trade value, even when coupled with other players/picks, he doesn’t add much value to any potential deal that would go down.