Hedo confident that he can take Toronto to the next level

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Hedo confident that he can take Toronto to the next level
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Temmuz 11, 2009 00:00

ISTANBUL - Signing a five-year, $53-million deal is only the beginning for Hidayet 'Hedo' Türkoğlu, as the Turkish star believes he can help the Toronto Raptors advance to the next level in the NBA. The Canadian team welcomes the signing of the all-around forward with remarkable fanfare. Toronto acquires Hedo in a deal that involves four teams so that it can open up salary cap space to sign a couple of more quality players

Turkish forward Hidayet "Hedo" Türkoğlu has ended the speculation about his NBA future by signing a five-year deal with the Toronto Raptors.

Türkoğlu will be paid $53 million over five years according to the deal. The 2.09-meter NBA veteran hit the market when the Orlando Magic acquired Vince Carter from New Jersey. Türkoğlu opted out of his contract and was close to a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers last Friday before Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo swooped in.

Türkoğlu was reportedly impressed with the city, which has a strong Turkish community, and the team, which is famous for possessing a strong European identity with Italian forward Andrea Bargnani and Spanish guard Jose Calderon.

Speaking at a press conference, Hedo said that the decision to sign with the Raptors was not a hard one to make. "I look at the team; I look at the opportunities," he said. "It was easy for me."

Hedo later spoke to NBA TV and said that the presence of All-Star forward Chris Bosh and European players were a huge factor, as was the Raptors’ style of basketball. "I’ve decided, this is the team, I have to be there," he said.

The differences between the Orlando Magic, which made it to the NBA Finals this season, and the Raptors, which failed to advance to the playoffs, had been another matter in doubt. The all-around player was asked whether he could be that missing piece that could bring the Raptors over the top.

"I think so and I hope so," Hedo replied. "I’ll do my best to make that happen. I’m not gonna be alone. There are guys around me that are gonna make my job easier. Having those pieces around me, it’s gonna help my game stay where it is already. Hopefully, it works out the best for all of us."

Türkoğlu, a nine-year NBA veteran who played for the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs before he signed with Orlando as a free agent in 2004, helped the Magic reach the NBA finals last season.

He averaged 16.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season, and has averaged 12.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game over his career. Known for his long-range shooting touch and capability to take responsibility for big shots in crucial game periods as well as his splendid versatility, Türkoğlu is a 38.5 percent shooter from the three-point range. Raptors GM Colangelo said he was elated with the signing.

Exceptional city

"We are very pleased to have landed one of the top free agents available this summer," said Colangelo. "Hedo Türkoğlu is an ideal fit basketball-wise, and his diverse skill set and size will make him a tremendous addition to the team’s already potent offense.

"The fact that Hedo and his wife chose Toronto is a great reflection on both our team and this exceptional city we live in."

Türkoğlu technically resigned from Orlando and was traded to Toronto as part of an eight-player, four-team deal. The Raptors also sent Shawn Marion, forward Kris Humphries and center Nathan Jawai to Dallas, and received swingmen Antoine Wright and Devean George. In addition, Toronto gave Memphis a second-round pick and cash, plus cash to Orlando, a move that left the team some comfort with its salary cap. The financial flexibility may be used to bring in a couple of quality players to round out the team.

"This is not common," said Lon Babby, Türkoğlu’s agent. "It’s a credit to this organization and their creativity to find a solution."

With Wright and George already on the roster via Dallas, at least a couple more decent players, possibly Carlos Delfino and Rasho Nesterovic, will be joining soon, the Toronto-based newspaper The Star reported.
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