Susan Bible of HoopsWorld reports the Turkish team Anadolu Efes (formerly Efes Pilsen) is pursuing Hedo Turkoglu. Anadalu Efes has already signed NBA stalwarts Ersan Ilyasova and Sasha Vujacic. They have also been after former Magic players Keyon Dooling and Maurice Evans.
No doubt Turkoglu has some interest in returning to his homeland to play basketball, whether it be after his career in America ends or during the lockout. This interest seemed inevitable. And I am sure Magic fans would love to see Turkoglu regain confidence after he averaged 11.4 points per game on 52.9 percent effective field goal percentage. His point output was the worst he has had in a Magic uniform as was his 13.5 PER.
Turkoglu played for Elfes Pilsen in Turkey as a teenager, averaging 8.4 points per game on 58 percent shooting in 50 Euroleague games. He averaged 13.6 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game in helping Efes Pilsen to the Euroleague Final Four in 2000. He then entered the NBA Draft and started playing for the Kings.
A return to Pilsen where he began and developed could be rejuvenatory for Turkoglu. His game was always better suited to the European style of play where he developed. At the 2010 FIBA World Championships, Turkoglu averaged 12.3 points per game on 52.4 percent effective field goal percentage in Turkey’s surprising run to the championship round.
Aside from Bible’s confirmation of Anadolu Efes’ interest, there is very little news on whether Turkoglu himself is interested in returning to his homeland to play during the lockout and beyond. There is not a lot in English at least.
Lithuanian outlet KrepSinis.net cites a Turkish report that Turkoglu is indeed close to signing a deal with Anadolu Efes for the duration of the lockout. The deal is expected to be announced
“I’m going to go back to Turkey to represent the club, where I started my career,” Turkoglu (apparently) said (translated by Google Translate). He mentioned the possibility for playing for either Efes Pilsen or Fenberbache Ulker. Honestly my Lithuanian is a little rusty (read: non-existent), feel free to take a stab at translating it — or finding the original story from Turkey. UPDATE: Turkoglu prefers to sign with Fenerbache because it is the team he supports and Anadolu does not seem interested in signing another player who will leave them once the lockout ends (h/t to follower Mert Gunver in Istanbul).
Turkoglu is set to play for the Turkish national team at Eurobasket, the European qualifying tournament for the Olympics, in Lithuania starting August 31. Turkey is in Group A along with Marcin Gortat and Poland, host Lithuania and probable tournament favorite Spain. It will be interesting to see how Turkoglu plays because, frankly, Orlando needs him to be better next year.
Photo via DayLife.com.