Trading Turkoglu is no slam dunk

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:38 PM ET

TORONTO – So much for public apologies.

Further evidence that nothing should be taken at face value, especially when it comes out of the mouth of an NBA player, comes word that Hedo Turkoglu wants out of Toronto.

Turkoglu appeared on a Turkish TV station in his native country on the weekend and basically said he has no intention of playing for the Raptors and through his representative has informed the franchise of his wishes.

No matter how his words get translated and interpreted, the Hedo experiment turned into a colossal failure from the very onset.

It began with the Raptors giving this multitalented small forward big bucks and the kid-glove treatment.

Remember that well-staged news conference at the team’s practice facility when a gaggle of kids and the stuffed shirts at MLSEL welcomed Turkoglu and his $53-million US deal?

Remember how Turkoglu’s agent, Lon Babby, sat at the podium with Turkoglu and Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo?

It was all a facade and Turkoglu’s on-court presence was marginal at best.

Even if Turkoglu wants out, trading a player with three more guaranteed years at roughly $30 million is no slam dunk.

The buzz in basketball is that Chris Bosh also is done in Toronto.

What could happen in a sign-and-trade is for the Raptors to peddle to both Bosh and Turkoglu, which won’t be easy but it might be the only way to rid themselves of the Turkish headache.

Turkoglu was a bust in Toronto and the franchise itself must take the blame for not demanding more accountability and for not using his talents better.

Jay Triano and his staff did a terrible job in utilizing Turkoglu, who emotionally checked out following that memorable meltdown in Miami on March 28, when Turkoglu was healthy to play but never got off the bench.

During his TV interview in Turkey, Turkoglu provided details of that infamous night out in March with his teammates when he was feeling ill earlier in the day and did not dress against Denver.

He delved into other issues, but it was all in Turkish.

It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out Turkoglu doesn’t want to come back.

He doesn’t respect the franchise, but for him to go public, even if it was in his native tongue, was foolish.

It doesn’t put the Raptors at a disadvantage because, deep down they must have known well before this weekend that a change was necessary.

Ironically, many have pined for Colangelo to change his core.

He now has no choice because it appears Bosh isn’t coming back and Turkoglu, even if he was forced to come back, had no intention of towing the company line.

At the team’s season-ending exit interviews, Turkoglu addressed the media and apologized to the fans for his poor play.

No one knows what will happen in the ensuing months, but this year’s world championships are shaping into a very newsworthy event.

It’s in Turkey, where Turkoglu will have to revisit this weekend’s interview, but only in English. It may feature Bosh for his new NBA team.

The Raptors’ off-season promised to be one of profound change.

Perhaps all Turkoglu did by spouting off was reinforce to everyone that that change is inevitable.


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