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Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports Hedo Turkoglu will not join the Magic when training camp opens Tuesday (or at media day Monday) and will not be part of the team thereafter. According to Robbins, this was a decision the two sides — the Magic and Turkoglu — agreed upon.
"Our organization has a great deal of respect for Hedo and the contributions he’s made to the team over the years,” Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel."We’ve made an organizational decision to move in a different direction. During the pendency of our buyout negotiations, we’ve mutually agreed to have Hedo remain with his family while we work toward an agreement.""
Many assumed the Magic would not have Turkoglu return to the roster this year with the final year of his deal guaranteed for only $6 million of the $12 million the team owes him. Turkoglu, at 35 years old and coming off an injury-riddled season that also saw him face a 20-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, is not part of the Magic's future plans. He struggled during the life of this five-year contract after helping the Magic to the 2009 Finals.
Orlando re-acquired him to try to recapture some of that brilliance, but it never came. Turkoglu was not able to run the pick and roll as effectively or to get to the basket as effectively. Turkoglu was a shell of his former self for sure.
With the Magic rebuilding, Turkoglu and the team needed to move on. What is holding up the process is the Magic's desire to either buy Turkoglu out for less than the $6 million he would be owed if he was simply cut outright or to try and trade him for some type of future asset. Both are looking less and less likely as the Magic and Turkoglu's representatives have been discussing a buyout for most of the summer.
It was not all bad news from the Magic entering the final weekend before the team meets the media for the first time Monday.
The Magic announced it has invited Romero Osby, Solomon Jones, Mickell Gladness, Manny Harris and Kris Joseph to training camp.
Osby, the Magic's second round pick, was not much of a surprise. It was just a question of how the Magic would find playing time for him. Obviously, Orlando found it more valuable for Osby to be in camp and will find time for him to grow while on the roster — or possibly in the D-League. It was only a matter of time before the Magic announced Osby was indeed coming.
The big surprise is that Mickell Gladness will be coming to Magic camp. Previously, it was reported that Michael Eric would be joining the Magic for at least the preseason.
Gladness is a 6-foot-11 center out Alabama A&M. He played 26 games during the 2012 season for the Heat and the Warriors. He averaged 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in about 10 minutes per game. Gladness played for the Warriors' D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz last year, averaging 6.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 49 appearances for the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Obviously for all four of these players, outside of Osby, it will be a difficult road to make the Magic roster. Perhaps Kris Joseph has a good chance from a depth standpoint with no other true small forwards on the roster outside of Maurice Harkless.
Currently, though, the Magic have 19 players including Turkoglu under contract. They will have to shed that by four players before the beginning of the regular season.