Sources: Turkoglu longs for return to Kings
Already public with his desire to be traded, disgruntled Toronto Raptors forward Hedo Turkoglu(notes) has privately expressed to league friends a desire to return to the Sacramento Kings, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
After Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo brought him to Toronto with a five-year, $53 million contract last summer, Turkoglu had a tumultuous season and recently told Turkish television – and apparently the organization – that he no longer wants to play for the franchise.
The Kings and Raptors have yet to engage in trade discussions, sources say, but communication is a likely possibility before the end of the month. There won’t be much of a market for the declining veteran, but there are scenarios where he could make sense for the Kings.
The Kings need a small forward with an ability to put the ball on the floor and general manager Geoff Petrie drafted Turkoglu and shepherded his development into one of the NBA’s more versatile players. League executives believe Sacramento would need Toronto to minimally take forward Andres Nocioni(notes) and the two years, $13.5 million left on his contract.
The Kings seem inclined to get better in the short term with some veteran additions, and they’d have to evaluate how much more Turkoglu could give them over the next two or three seasons.
Questions do abound about Turkoglu, who became something of a symbol of the Raptors’ inability to surround All-Star free-agent forward Chris Bosh(notes) with a contending supporting cast. Turkoglu, 31, was fined and suspended for a March 28 game after he was seen out in a Toronto bar on a night he was supposed to be ill with the flu. He had one of his least-productive seasons in years, averaging 11.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. He averaged 19.5 and 16.8 points in his last two seasons with the Magic.
Turkoglu’s salary promises to make difficult yet another rebuilding of the Raptors. The Raptors have three years and more than $29 million left on the contract of point guard Jose Calderon(notes), whom Colangelo brought up in discussions near the February trade deadline.
Money seems to be little object for the Raptors. Bryan Colangelo hired assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo for an annual $650,000 salary and perks, sources say, a stunning figure in this ever-tightening economic climate for coaches. From their time together with the San Antonio Spurs, Carlesimo and Turkoglu have a solid relationship. Carlesimo was largely brought into Toronto to help with the team’s defense.