The Magic will waive Hedo Turkoglu at 5 p.m. on Friday, John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com reports, ending Turkoglu's tumultuous and disappointing second stint with the Magic. Orlando was unable to work out a buyout with the veteran small forward and needed to waive him by January 7 in order to avoid paying the full $12 million he would be owed this year. Releasing him now means the Magic only have to pay half of his salary.
#Magic will waive SF Hedo Turkoglu today at 5 p.m.
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) January 3, 2014
Waiving Turkoglu and even keeping him on the roster this long was a pure business decision. The Magic decided this season that they did not wish to have Turkoglu even practicing or riding the bench with the team and the two parties agreed to sort of stay away from each other until Turkoglu was bought out or traded.
The odds of a trade happening seemed pretty close to slim or none as Turkoglu's basketball career have truly hit rock bottom. Last year was certainly one of the lowest of the lows.
Turkoglu appeared in camp apparently rejuvenated and in great shape, but broke his hand during the team's opener against Denver. He came back in December but had to go back to the bench to complete rehab a few games later. Then he tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for 20 games. The Magic did not really ask him back after that. In all, Turkoglu's final season with the Magic amounted to 11 games, 2.9 points per game and 26.4 percent field goal percentage.
Turkoglu said he still hopes to make an NBA roster and there are reportedly a few teams interested. He will have to do it for no more than the veterans' minimum. His big contract days appear to be over.
Ever since that 2009 Finals run, the last bits of playing time he got before hitting free agency, Turkoglu has seen his numbers take a nose dive. In his second stint with the Magic, which began in December 2010 after the Magic traded Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus to the Suns for Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark, Turkoglu averaged 10.4 points per game and shot 42.4 percent from the floor and 36.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Turkoglu was clearly not the player he once was — a borderline All Star who stirred the drink for a Finals-bound Magic team. Otis Smith's last-ditch attempt to get the Magic back into title contention was a catastrophic failure and Turkoglu was a symbol of that failure.
The good memories will always last though. Many Magic fans still regret letting Turkoglu leave the organization following the 2009 Finals run despite the fact the Magic are dumping Turkoglu to avoid paying the final year of the contract he signed that the Magic were unwilling to match.
Turkoglu just did not fit the team's current plans. He would have been another high-priced veteran taking up valuable playing time from a young player like Tobias Harris or Maurice Harkless. For whatever reason, the Magic did not even want him in the locker room or at practices as an extra body.
This was purely a business decision. With Turkoglu having little or no trade value, waiving him before the January deadline next week was all they could do.