What a fall from grace.
Hedo Turkoglu has been a fan favorite since he first became a member of the Orlando Magic in 2004. His career took off in the 2007-2008 season when he won the Most Improved Player Award and became the focal point of the offense during the 2009 NBA Finals run when the Magic were runner-ups to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Turkoglu then signed a five-year, $52.8 million contract with the Toronto Raptors as part of a sign and trade after the 2009 Finals appearance, and his performances since then have never lived up to expectations.
The Magic decided not to give that kind of money to Turkoglu following a stellar 2008-2009 season, so it does leave legitimate questions on why the franchise brought him back under the same contract, especially being two years older and little production with Toronto and the Phoenix Suns.
The only logical answer is that the Magic thought they could recapture some old sparks by bringing Turkoglu back into the Stan van Gundy system, where he was used as a point-forward often. Turkoglu’s time in Orlando definitely had the feel of it being at its end all season long, and it culminated in his suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancers.
Turkoglu, in the final year of his contract, is set to make $12 million this season. However, there is a clause in the contract that states he can be bought out for half that amount at $6 million.
Currently, the Magic are smartly trying to negotiate an even lower buyout price in exchange for giving Turkoglu the freedom to join any team he would like.