Thursday, January 2, 2014
Turkoglu wants back in NBA
By Marc Stein
The Cleveland Cavaliers have called virtually every team in the league this week as part of their continuing search for a trade partner interested in dealing for Andrew Bynum's cap-friendly contract before the magical date of Jan. 7, according to sources close to the process.
Which is a handy cue to remind us that the Orlando Magic possess the same sort of trade chip with Hedo Turkoglu and his similarly structured deal.
In both cases, only half of Bynum and Turkoglu's respective $12 million expiring contracts are guaranteed this season. Any team employing either player on Jan. 7 can thus save $6 million in salary -- and potentially more depending on where they are luxury-tax wise -- by releasing Bynum or Turkoglu in time to ensure they clear waivers before Jan. 10.
Yet there is one big difference between the Bynum and Turkoglu situations.
The Cavaliers, despite their disastrous 10-21 start, still have playoff aspirations in the Leastern Conference. So they appear to be willing to add some salary in a Bynum trade if they can land a difference-making asset, as evidenced by Cleveland's recent trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers to acquire $19.3 million man Pau Gasol.
Orlando is not in the same place. Although the Magic decided to keep Turkoglu on their roster through Jan. 7 just in case a trade of some sort materialized in which his contract was needed, they're not chasing the likes of Gasol in support of a playoff push, which makes a trade even trickier for Orlando than it is for the Cavs to find a workable Bynum deal.
I'm told Turkoglu, incidentally, remains determined to relaunch his NBA career later this month when he is finally waived by the Magic or any other team that happens to trade for him in the next five days. The 34-year-old will become a free agent Jan. 10 after clearing waivers and has been working out on his own away from the team all season after Turkoglu and the Magic mutually agreed that he would not join the rest of the squad while they tried to find him a new home.
One source close to Turkoglu told ESPN.com this week that he remains confident he can still make an NBA contribution and badly wants the chance to show it after the rebuilding Magic decided that the 13-year veteran didn't fit in with a rebuilding program.