Turkoglu’s Potential Replacements

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Hedo Turkoglu’s agent told the Orlando Sentinel that Hedo Turkoglu would opt out of his contract. “It would make sense for him to opt out,” Lon Babby, Turkoglu’s agent said by phone. “I can’t imagine a scenario in which he would not.” Most feel that if Hedo does in fact walk away, the Magic should sign a new starting PF and let Rashard Lewis slide back into his natural position of SF. I completely agree. Many on the Magic message board across the web think that the next starting PF could already be on the team: Restricted Free Agent Marcin Gortat. I disagree. It would be great to keep Marcin as the backup to Dwight and although he has a bit of a jumper and a good shot blocker, he’s struggled playing one on one defense in the Finals and is not a great passer. He’s better suited for Center and the Magic already have the best Center in the game.

There are many options at the Forward position.

Unrestricted Free Agents:
–Shawn Marion
–Rasheed Wallace
–Lamar Odom
–Brandon Bass
–Ron Artest
–Trevor Ariza
–Antonio Mcdyess
–Drew Gooden
–Chris Wilcox
–Malik Rose
–Chris Anderson
–Matt Barnes
–Grant Hill
–Shelden Williams
–Joe Smith
–Stromile Swift
–Ime Udoka
–Stephen Graham
–Cedric Simmons
–Maceo Baston
–Darius Miles

Restricted Free Agents:
–David Lee
–Marvin Williams
–Ike Diogu
–Charlie Villanueva
–Josh Childress (if he comes back from Greece)
–Channing Frye
–Paul Milsap
–Hakim Warrick
–Leon Powe
–Glen “Big Baby” Davis
–Aaron Gray
–Jamario Moon

Early Termination/Player Options:
–Carlos Boozer
–Mehmet Okur (Center)
–Jermaine O’Neal
–Eddy Curry
–Al Harrington
–Anderson Varejao
–Jason Maxiel
–Brian Skinner
–Kyle Korver
–Devean George
–Malik Allen
–Brian Cook

Only a few of these men really stick out. Carlos Boozer also has a player option, but his price would be way too high. He has been linked to the Miami Heat. Shawn Marion has always been a borderline superstar and has the numbers to back that up. He will be 31 by the time the season rolls around and he will likely command much more than the Magic are willing to spend. Lamar Odom, whose Lakers just defeated the Magic, could play 3 or 4 but is another player likely out of Orlando’s price range. Rasheed Wallace seems interesting. He can pass. He can shoot. He fills up the stat column and really could make an impact in Orlando. There are drawbacks. He’s a hot head. He will be 35 at the beginning of next season and is probably looking for at least the Mid Level Exception. David Lee is an interesting player. You’d think that the Knicks would like to lock him up long term, but they may be reluctant to spend any money with the LeBron James sweepstakes coming up in just a year. The Magic would have to swing a sign and trade to acquire Lee. Chris Wilcox has always been known as a very talented player, but his work ethic has been questioned. Every other marquee player like Okur, would seemingly be out of the Magic’s price range.

There are other options. The Magic could trade into the first round and try to find a replacement in the draft or trade with another team. Amare Stoudemire is a star that could be available and has ties to the city, playing high school basketball in Central Florida, but once again, would command a huge salary. Josh Smith and SF Luol Deng could also be on the move. Swingman Ron Artest had a great season leading the Rockets to within a game of the Western Conference Finals and is a Free Agent. He could play SF if Lewis remained at PF. SF Trevor Ariza, who the Magic traded last season, is also an unrestricted Free Agent.

Any other Forward combination seems like it would be a huge downgrade from the Turkoglu-Lewis combo of the last two seasons even if both men are much better suited for SF. Unfortunately for the Magic, whether Turkoglu stays or goes is probably not going to be up to the Magic. He claims to like playing in Orlando but he is likely to receive much more money from other suitors, such as Portland, than the Magic will be able to pay him.