I wanted to post a Florida Today article I read, as a FanShot yesterday, but I decided against it. The reason being that I wanted to flesh out the piece a little bit and, hopefully, spark some discussion with the community about the subject of the write-up - Hedo Turkoglu.
John Denton wrote an article about Turkoglu and in the piece, got some interesting commentary from him. I want to concentrate, solely, on the financial aspect of Turkoglu, not the statistical aspect (Denton comments a bit on that in his write-up).
"The contract, that's a big part of my life and it's always there in my mind," said Turkoglu, who recently celebrated the birth of his first child (Ela) with his wife. "Right now I'm not thinking about it, but when the time comes I'll have to think about it. It's a chance for me to secure myself and my family.
"I'd love to stay here, but it's not just on my side," Turkoglu continued. "It has to be there on both sides. I can say, 'I want to be here, I want to be here,' but it won't matter if they don't really want to keep you. Hopefully, they will want me here, but if they don't, I can't keep knocking on the door without them answering."
We all know, by now, Turkoglu's situation. Turkoglu has a player option he can exercise this off-season (which would net him $7.3 million) OR he can opt out of his current contract in hopes of getting a raise. It's no secret that Turkoglu plans on opting out and, obviously, the main priority for the Orlando Magic is to lock him up for the long-term so that the franchise can continue its championship run.
As Denton somewhat points out, there are a number of things working in Orlando's favor. The economy is down, many franchises are looking to spend their money in 2010, the number of teams with loads of cash will be small this off-season (the Grizzlies, Pistons, and Thunder have major money to spend), etc.
So what does that mean for Turkoglu? Well, he's not going to get his asking price of 5 years/$50 million. It's not going to happen in this current economic climate (but who knows, he might). What's a more realistic figure for Turkoglu? Most likely, a contract netting $7-$8 million per year for either 4 or 5 years. In speaking with David Steele a few weeks ago in Milwaukee, he surmises that Turkoglu may agree to a 4 year/$24 million contract. Now, clearly this is all speculation but it's a figure worth referring to in a discussion.
[ed. note] I like to quickly state that if the Magic were to re-sign Hedo, I have a hard time seeing the team NOT enter the luxury tax to expedite the process. It's inevitable, given that the salary cap and tax threshold will dip a bit next season. Whether or not the front office for Orlando will elect to pay the tax is another story. In my opinion, I'd be a bit surprised if the owners didn't think it'd be worth the investment to enter the tax threshold to re-up Hedo. If Orlando doesn't want to pay the tax, the Magic can always exercise a trade and move a player (like Tony Battie, for example) to avoid getting hit in the pockets.
Some of you may ask, how will Turkoglu feel about the disparity in earnings between him and someone like, Rashard Lewis? To be honest, I don't think he'll care. I think Turkoglu just wants to net the money he deserves and secure his future financially, both for his family and himself. Turkoglu wants to stay in Orlando and ...
"I tend not to worry about his numbers because his greatness tends to be in his versatility and the number of things he can do. As long as we have Turk on the floor, we're a better team," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Even though his numbers are down, his versatility and the number of things he can do make him so valuable to us. Regardless of what the numbers say, he may be THE key guy for us offensively in terms of how he goes."
... it's obvious his coach wants him to stay.
Personally, I'm confident that Turkoglu will be around for the long haul. As I stated already, a variety of things are working in Orlando's favor. Turkoglu enjoys playing with the Magic and knows he has a chance to be a part of something special. In the end, the franchise offers Turkoglu the most out of all the teams with substantial cash available - a chance to win a Title, the continued opportunity to be a playmaker, etc. Plus, he can keep lobbing passes to Dwight Howard for sick alley-oop dunks.
Now, the amount of years & money Turkoglu should net is a completely different story altogether. That debate is better served during the off-season, when negotiations are taking place and actual numbers are being thrown out to the public. I digress.
The question I pose is, how confident are you - as a fan - that Turkoglu will be back? I'd do a poll but I like to get some dialogue going with everyone. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.