Hedo finally lands in T.O.

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:04 AM ET

It took four teams, two sign-and-trade scenarios and countless anxious moments, but Bryan Colangelo finally got his hands on Hedo Turkoglu.

"He is someone I've coveted for many, many years," the Raptors general manager began yesterday, when one of the most complex trades in NBA history was made official. "I couldn't get him to Phoenix and I wasn't going to make the mistake a second time."

There is absolutely no mistaking the fact that Turkoglu will have a profound impact on the Raptors. His arrival gives them a front-court facilitator, a guy comfortable with the ball in his hands and who isn't afraid to take shots in crunch time.

His European background and his game suit Toronto and the Raptors so perfectly that anyone who questions the move is completely out of his mind.

Turkoglu didn't come cheaply, but players of his ilk aren't acquired without a financial cost.

For the record, Turkoglu has agreed to a five-year deal worth $53 million US.

"I am happy,'' the Turkish-born Turkoglu said in front of many of MLSEL's stuffed shirts and a gaggle of children who descended upon the Raptors practice facility to usher in his arrival. "I am very excited. It's a great opportunity for me to come to an organization that plays a style I admire."

JERSEY NO. 26

He will wear jersey No. 26 in honour of his daughter, Ela.

"She was born on Feb. 26,'' said Turkoglu, who wore No. 15 in Orlando.

The Raptors, meanwhile, aren't done remaking their roster, with three spots that need to be filled. But regardless of the changes that await, the Raps who take to the court this fall will be fun to watch and high-scoring.

"Stay tuned because there will be more changes to the roster,'' Colangelo said. "Things are falling in line quite nicely for us."

The Raptors, on paper, are now so offensively versatile that any concerns about depth and defence just might get masked. Certainly, they are a playoff team. But getting beyond the first round will depend largely on how they play team defence.

While a lot has been made about Toronto's ethnic diversity, don't for a second believe that money wasn't a factor in Turkoglu's decision. In the bottom-line business that is the NBA, money always is an issue.

The deal couldn't have been finalized until Orlando, a team Turkoglu helped advance to the NBA final, agreed to a sign-and-trade.

It involved the Raptors agreeing to a sign-and-trade with Shawn Marion, who is off to Dallas.

Toronto also sent money and, believe it or not, a second-round pick in the 2016 draft to Orlando.

In actual bodies, the Raptors, traded Marion, Kris Humphries and Nathan Jawai to Dallas. In return, they received Devean George and Antoine Wright, two wing players who provide depth.

George's best days are behind him and the 10-year veteran is coming off knee surgery.

Wright is an interesting piece, but the jury is still out.

The four-team trade also involved Memphis receiving Jerry Stackhouse and cash considerations from Dallas, which got Greg Buckner from the Grizzlies.

This trade will not be remembered for its impact players, but rather for the complexities that surrounded it.

"At one point, it almost fell through,'' said Colangelo, who had to withdraw free-agent offers to Carlos Delfino and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, but didn't renounce either.

He also was trying to keep Anthony Parker, who has a verbal agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Quincy Douby's name initially was included, but a technicality meant Jawai had to be thrown into the equation.

Colangelo could have signed Turkoglu strictly as a free agent, but so much manoeuvring had to be done to ensure flexibility in moving forward that he simply had to wait and get enough teams on board to make the deal.


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