Report: Clippers poised to sign Hedo Turkoglu after release from Magic
Free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu is reportedly poised to sign with the Clippers less than two weeks after he was released by the Magic.
Turkey's NTV Spor reported Tuesday that the 34-year-old Turkish forward will "sign a contract with [the] Clippers until the end of this season," assuming he passes a physical.
Earlier Tuesday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers told the Los Angeles Times that his team was indeed considering Turkoglu.
"We're looking at him strong, I can say that much," Rivers stated, adding that Turkoglu "made shots from everywhere" during a recent workout for the team.
L.A.'s roster is currently full at 15 players following the signings of Maalik Wayns and Darius Morris to 10-day contracts last week, but either player could be released to make room for Turkoglu. The Clippers (26-13) are currently making due without All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who is expected to be sidelined for six weeks with a separated shoulder.
Turkoglu hasn't played meaningful minutes since the 2011-12 season. In February 2013, he made headlines when he was suspended by the NBA for 20 games for taking methenolone, an anabolic steroid that is banned under the league's anti-drug program. Turkoglu played in just 11 games last season, averaging 2.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists for a rebuilding Magic team that was pursuing a youth movement following the 2012 trade of franchise center Dwight Howard. The Magic and Turkoglu agreed earlier this season that it would be best if he remained away from the team this year, as the Magic looked to develop its younger players.
Prior to his release by the Magic earlier this month, Turkoglu was on the books for $12 million this season, but only $6 million was guaranteed. By releasing him before a Jan. 7 deadline, Orlando avoided paying the remaining $6 million.
"I wanna thank [Magic owner] Rich and Helen Devos and all the Devos family for making me feel part of the family for all these years," Turkoglu wrote on Twitter after his release was officially announced. "God bless them I also wanna thank my number [one] supporters all the Orlando Magic fans and [the] city of Orlando for all these years for the great memories. Orlando will always be my second home."
After a strong showing during Orlando's run to the 2009 Finals, Turkoglu signed a five-year, $52.8 million contract with Toronto, a deal that looked regrettable shortly after it was signed. He was then traded by the Raptors to the Suns a year later in what amounted to a salary dump. Less than six months into his Phoenix tenure, the Suns traded him back to the Magic in a multi-player deal that included Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat. Turkoglu had remained in Orlando in the three-plus years since that move, and his playing time dwindled quickly. Known during his prime years as a versatile forward with reliable three-point range, Turkoglu holds career averages of 11.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 13 NBA seasons. The 2000 first-round pick was named the NBA's Most Improved Player in 2008.