On Monday, the Boston Celtics reached a one year agreement with free agent Evan Turner that will pay him a percentage of their mid-level exception. In his fifth year in the league, Turner averaged 14.0 PPG, 3.2 APG and 5.0 RPG between stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers. Although his time in Indiana was short-lived and deemed a failure given the way the Pacers went out in the playoffs, his signing may be a steal for Boston.
Granted, Tuner has only signed a one-year deal with Boston and is coming off a down year, but he is only 25 years old and the potential is still there. The Celtics just happen to be bad enough to give him the playing time to show that he still can be an impact player in this league.
Before Turner was traded to Indiana, he was finally starting to put it together. In 54 games for the Sixers, he averaged 17.4 PPG and six rebounds. Philadelphia was trying to get as bad as they possibly could last season by intentionally tanking, and they chose to sell high on Turner because his positive play was actually helping them win and be competitive in games. Welcome to the NBA, ladies and gentleman, where tanking is rewarded.
That being said, the signing of Turner may pay big dividends for the Celtics down the line. If he plays well this year, it would boost his value, which may come in handy when trading season comes around next year. If the Celtics intend to make a lot of moves around the February trade deadline, Turner could be very important in landing a bigger piece such as a Kevin Love if he is still around.
On the other hand, the Celtics may intend to sign Turner to a longer contract next year if he plays well. This would give them a player who can do a lot of things well on the court, and gives them insurance at the small forward and guard positions. If he doesn’t play well and they can’t move him in a trade, he is on a one-year deal that is costing the Celtics pennies in the NBA world. They can let Turner walk — no harm, no foul.
Assets are the name of the game for the Danny Ainge and co. at this point in the rebuilding process, and this has been a very solid offseason for the Celtics so far. Boston is putting itself in the best position to swing for the fences when the time comes, but for now, the Celtics will sit and bide their time.