Saturday, June 13, 2009

So long, Magic Dynasty

Magic fans will likely be hurting from Thursday night's collapse for years. For the Magic, there is no "wait til next year" because their best scorer, Hedo Turkoglu, will be wearing another team's colors come next season.

Turkoglu has a player option for the 2009-10 season for $7.36 million, but recent reports indicate that he will opt out of his contract. And let's be honest: he'd have to be crazy not to do so. Turk has shown his mettle these playoffs, solidifying his place in the game as one of the game's best clutch shooters. The playoffs have also given Turkoglu to showcase his other talents -- his ability to get off his own shot from anywhere on the court; his ball handling skills (the Magic's offense flows through him on most of the Magic's half-court sets); and even his hitherto unknown defensive talents (that block on Kobe in Game 2 will have Kobe seething for months). Make no mistake: This is Superman's team, but when the Magic need to score, the ball will be in Turkoglu's hands.

The Magic just can't afford to re-sign Turkoglu at market price. The Magic's GM, Otis Smith, assured this two years ago when they inked Rashard Lewis to a 6-year $113 million max contract. I'm sure that it's not lost on Turkoglu (or on Dwight Howard) that one-dimensional, inconsistent Rashard Lewis makes significantly more than anyone on the team. But egos aside, with Dwight Howard on the books for $15.1 million next season and Lewis set to make $18 million next season, the Magic don't have space for a third player making near-max money. (Magic management have already indicated that they are loath to pay the luxury tax. )

Look for Turkoglu in a Raptors uniform next season. In addition to GM Bryan Colangelo's European fetish, the Raptors are badly in need of someone who can create his own shot and someone who can handle the ball. Turkoglu does both.

1 comment:

Bhel Atlantic said...

It certainly would be a shame if Orlando loses Turkoglu. Dwight Howard plus a summer of offensive practice, and Jameer Nelson plus a healthy shoulder, would make a deadly team.

Your comment about "the owner is loath to pay the luxury tax" reminds me of my previous post on the luxury tax subject. I could understand if the owner said "Given my cost of capital, my required profit margin, and our team's projected revenues, I'm not willing to spend any more than $__ MM on player salaries", with some number like $68 or $75 going in the blank. But the luxury tax line is a rather arbitrary barrier; it's a constant league-wide figure with no regard for individual team circumstances. Yeah, it means that you begin paying a 100% marginal tax rate for salaries above that line, but that may or may not be worth it, depending on a team's individual circumstances and the worth of the player in question. I find it quizzical as to why otherwise savvy businessmen would fixate so much on this threshold.