Franchise returns from a weekend of wedding madness in Palm Beach to find that somehow a bad situation with Hedo Turkoglu has become worse...
"...Wall's arrival starts the clock on the eventual departure of Gilbert Arenas. While it's possible for the two to play together in the backcourt, especially if Arenas is willing to play off the ball as a spot-up shooter, it makes little sense for a rebuilding Wizards squad to cling to a declining 28-year-old who ties up $80 million over the next four seasons.
Amazingly, given his history and contract, there may still be a market for Agent Zero. The most likely scenario would have Washington take on an equally unpalatable contract with a shorter expiration (say, Eddy Curry from New York, or a combination of Erick Dampier and Matt Carroll from Dallas, or Marcus Banks and Jose Calderon from Toronto) in return for Arenas, who was reasonably effective on the court last season but needs to move on for the sake of both sides..."
That excerpt was taken from John Hollinger's post-lottery discussion on ESPN.com. It highlights something we've kicked around here at the HQ before, the idea that to move some of the Raptors more onerous contracts, they'll need to take some back in return, or take a risk on a troubled soul that's fallen from grace.
Could that troubled soul be Agent Zero?
It definitely is worth discussing, and with Hedo Turkoglu's recent announcement that he wants out of Toronto, suddenly a move of some kind seems inevitable.
I missed the boat on Hedo's initial comments as not only was I in the strange parallel universe known as Palm Beach over the weekend for a wedding, but I also managed to lose my phone Friday night. (And yes, I can't tell you how excited I am to call Rogers and here that I need to pay $600 to replace it...)
Having now caught up on the situation and read most of the key talking heads' takes on the situation, I've got one thing to say:
What a mess.
Consider some points:
-A signing that I despised before it ever occured, and which looked bad enough a month ago, now looks like a vertiable Trojan Horse. Here was a player who had already killed his trade value thanks to his play last season, not to mention giant contract, and now he's essentially recreating the last days of Vince Carter. The problem is, Carter's value even with his contract at the time, was a lot higher - Hedo's an unathletic 30+ wing coming off arguably his worst NBA season, one in which he appeared to be a party-loving malcontent.
-As pointed out by the folks at Raptors Republic, regardless of whether or not Hedo is the bad guy here, the Raptors and Bryan Colangelo did a horrific job of dealing with him last season. From the get go he was coddled, then when it was essentially "too little, too late," the team came down on him for his supposed night out in Yorkville and eventually removed him from the starting line-up. Was he actually out partying it up? Who knows, and really, who cares. The issue is that perception is reality most of the time and not only should Hedo not have gone out in the first place, but the Raptors, shouldn't have flip-flopped on their attitude towards him after defending him through most of the season.
-What the hell was Hedo thinking with a public statement like this? Now Colangelo has his hand forced and will have to take whatever he can get in return for Turk. And as problematic as this is for the Raptors, this hardly amounts to a great situation for Hedo and his agent either. Now, an angry BC will simply take the best deal possible instead of trying to find a situation that works for all parties, like he did with the Shawn Marion sign-and-trade last off-season. Hedo may find himself dumped in a place like Minnesota just so the Raps can get some value for his "services."
-Bryan Colangelo's got some major PR work to do personally. Hedo Turkoglu now makes four key transactions that have been failures of different magnitudes, one for each season BC has been in charge. TJ Ford never fit with Jose Calderon, Jermaine O'Neal was 20 years older than anticipated and stunted Andrea Bargnani's development, Shawn Marion fit, but was a band-aid solution in order to move Jermaine O'Neal, and now we've got the Hedo fiasco. How exactly is he supposed to entice future free-agents to consider Toronto? I mean, the concern in the past was that US stars didn't want to play in Toronto so Colangelo was forced to rely more on European options. Now, a "Euro-star" who actually picked Toronto over a desireable US destination wants out too?
-Has the future of this team ever been so shaky? The initial assumption was that Bosh was probably gone, but the team would regroup with the results of a sign-and-trade, a solid draft pick and maybe something in return for Jose Calderon or Jarrett Jack. Now it's possible that the only starters from the bulk of last season who return are Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan and question marks abound.
-Even the draft process has been muddied! The team needed to look at "bigs" because of possible departures by Bosh, Johnson, O'Bryant, Rasho etc, yet probably needed to look at point guards too if Calderon or Jack were gone. Now, with only Sonny Weems, Marco Belinelli and DeRozan under contract besides Hedo, draft prospects like Gordon Hayward and Paul George need to be in the mix as well. In fact, Hayward is scheduled to work out for the Raptors today along with UConn's Stanley Robinson, Ok State's Willie Warren, and the much-hyped Texas freshman guard, Avery Bradley.
So now what?
Are we going to see Hedo moved in the next six weeks?
I've got a feeling we won't.
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to hear Hedo make a statement where he rescinds his comments and apologizes for the outburst. As mentioned above, Turk didn't do he or his agent any favours by addressing things in this light, so the smart PR move would be for Hedo to eat his own words for now and have his agent make peace with BC. This way at least at face value things look to be ok and Colangelo could work behind the scenes to find a suitable trade option.
The tough thing is, even with such a public make-up, I'm not sure just who would be interested in Turk at this point. We're in the process of polling our SB Nation counterparts on the topic and we'll discuss the results in a future post but for now it's safe to say that there aren't a lot of options this side of Gilbert Arenas and Eddy Curry.
I'm not a big Gilbert Arenas fan, he's simply not the type of player I'd choose to build my team around if I were an NBA GM.
That being said, a healthy and focussed Arenas was at one point one of the toughest players in the league to defend, and one of the NBA's premiere talents. He's also a player that's in serious need of a change of an image makeover, and probably a change of scenery, much like our buddy Hedo. As Hollinger noted, with Wall onboard, it's quite likely Washington will look to rid themselves of his contract...and the Raptors, with some troublesome contracts of their own, might be a very interesting destination.
A deal that works financially would be:
-Gilbert Arenas and Nick Young for Hedo Turkoglu, Marcus Banks and Reggie Evans
There are various other permutations possible as well, and perhaps Toronto would need to throw in a pick or other enticement to make it happen.
It really all depends on how desperate Washington is to rid themselves of Arenas. If they truly believe an Arenas-Wall back-court would work, then I think this option is out unless perhaps Jose Calderon replaced Turkoglu, and that hardly solves the "how to get Hedo out of town" conundrum.
And while I love the Portland trade idea some of our readers were discussing yesterday (Hedo
for Joel Pryzbilla (or Martell Webster) & Rudy Fernandez), I just don't see it happening unless the Raps are willing to throw in a pick or DeRozan etc.
As for Eddy Curry, that would strictly be a salary dump for Toronto and even that looks unlikely unless New York fails to land any of their top free-agent options.
For me, this really comes down to how bad Hedo wants out.
He and his agent have to realize that there aren't a lot of options out there for him right now, so playing things out in the short term to improve his value, knocking off the final year (player option) on his contract, or even accepting a buy-out all have to be in play if he's that keen on getting out of TO.
And that may be the one advantage Colangelo has right now. While Turk's public comments certainly don't make things easy for BC now, they also handicap Hedo who we have to remember is hardly a youngster at this point; aka - he's not just going to want to go anywhere the Raptors can trade him. It's in both parties' best interests to work together on this to get something done.
What that "something" will be I'm not sure, but it's certainly made an already interesting summer even moreso.