The National Basketball Association regular season ended weeks ago. The playoffs are still going on, but the Toronto Raptors are not a part of the festivities. They just barely missed out on the playoffs, but that is not their only disappointment. Now one of their star players, Turkeyâ€™s Hidayet â€œHedoâ€ Turkoglu is voicing his displeasure with his place on the team, and has requested a trade to another organization. What went wrong with this marriage?
This was only Turkogluâ€™s first season with the Toronto Raptors. He arrived with much fanfare last summer after signing a lucrative free agent contract to the tune of $53 million as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Orlando Magic. He had played four seasons in Orlando, having led them to the NBA Finals in 2009. He was also named the NBAâ€™s Most Improved Player in a 2007-2008 season in which he averaged 19.5 points per game, and over 5 assists and over 5 rebounds per game. He originally started his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings, for whom he was the 16th overall player chosen in the 2000 NBA draft. And he was a part of a Sacramento team that came within a whisker of beating the vaunted Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals in 2002.
So, the Istanbul native came to Toronto with a great resume. And, he even made comments prior to his arrival regarding how impressed he and his wife were with the city of Toronto as a whole and especially with its cultural diversity. But like many a marriage, this one between player and team is fueled by communication problems. Specifically, Turkoglu was spotted in a nightlife district of Toronto in March of 2010 when he had recently missed playing time due to a stomach virus. Turkoglu had indicated that he was merely accompanying friends on a social outing, but he was nonetheless disciplined by the Raptors organization. Turkoglu is married and has a daughter, and he has no history of improprieties, so he felt that the situation was handled unfairly by the organization. And that is essentially what has led to the current discord. Of course what cannot be ignored is the teamâ€™s disappointing finish this season and its contribution to the overall level of disharmony.
Hedo Turkoglu has always had a reputation of being a player with a wide array of skills to benefit a team in several statistical categories. Toronto can ill afford to simply dump such a valuable player. What this situation calls for is simply some good old fashioned mediation, much like marriage counseling. And of course, winning a few more games would make all parties happy. Otherwise, many other teams would be glad to get a very good player for pennies on the dollar.