Breaking News: Portland And Hedo Have Reached An Agreement in Principle

According to Henry Abbott of TrueHoop, as first reported on ESPN's SportsCenter, the Portland Trail Blazers have reached an agreement in principle with free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu.  The terms of the deal have not been finalized.

The rumored structure according to multiple sources is that the Blazers' offer will approach the 5 years and $50 million previously reported.

Via Google Chat, Henry Abott writes...

There are a lot of players Portland could have offered that money to. But there are not a lot who can both shoot and create for other shooters. When you get that in a player who is also extremely long, comfortable in crunch time, and playoff-tested ... it makes a lot of sense.    

The earliest the deal can be announced is Wednesday, July 8. 

Update (11:44AM)Here's the ESPN link.

Although a verbal commitment may be announced sooner, the terms of the contract cannot be finalized until Wednesday, after the NBA informs teams what next year's salary cap will be.    

Update (12:08PM): Ken Berger has confirmed this report.

Update (12:31PM): On ESPN INSIDER, John Hollinger writes...

At first, it makes no sense. Why would the Portland Trail Blazers pay Hedo Turkoglu $50 million?

Thanks to his position as a key ballhandler on a conference champion, Turkoglu has become one of the league's most overrated players: a 30-year-old forward who has had league-average PER numbers the past three seasons. Clearly, he isn't worth $50 million, which is the rumored price, and in a couple of years he might not be worth half of $50 million.

Yet in a roundabout way, it makes a lot of sense for Portland to offer him $50 million.    

Update (1:30PM): Henry Abbott went on 95.5FM The Game to discuss the Hedo Turkoglu signing. I tried to transcribe as carefully as I could in real time... here's some of what he said...

Initial thoughts

It's an interesting move... you never love free agency because you take a whole bunch of money and are choosing from a limited menu... given their options, it makes all kinds of sense to me... it makes a ton of sense to me... you're already spreading the floor with shooters... now Turkoglu can be a second option to take some pressure off Brandon Roy... He has wanted 5 years and 50 million dollars... Portland has agreed to get there or darn close to there..

Did they overpay?

Probably a little.. but that's the way free agency works... a much poorer value is to have 9 million under the cap and not get somebody... especially when he's 35 it will really look like they are overpaying...

Who else were they looking at?

The Blazers really don't take on any players that can't shoot... that limits their options... as long as that's the case you're choosing from a very limited menu...

What do they want from Hedo?

You've got to be a teammate, you've got to be a winner, you've got to be a shooter... almost alone among NBA players that you can plug into the Blazers team and run the same things they've been running and just get more efficient scoring.

Will this change the team's approach?

I wonder if maybe having a 30 year old guy who has been deep in the playoffs might inspire Nate to loosen the reigns a little bit on the fast break.

95.5's online stream cut to commercials during that portion of the interview. 

Update (1:30PM): Jason Quick offers this confirmation...

The 6-foot-10 small forward, one of the top commodities in this year's free agent market, arrived in Portland on Thursday afternoon and reached tentative agreement on a five-year, $50 million deal shortly before noon today.    

Turkoglu and his agent, Lon Babby, are expected to be at the team's practice facility around 2 p.m., for a meeting during which details and formalities will be ironed out.

...

Kevin Pritchard intimated that he has at least one more move ahead this summer, which figures to involve one of the Blazers three returning small forwards - Travis Outlaw ($3.6 million this season), Martell Webster ($4.3 million) or second-year player Nicolas Batum ($1.2 million).

Update (1:45PM): Ric Bucher on ESPN News just said... 

They do not have an agreement. There is a deal, 5 years and 52 million that is apparently on the table. I've been told by a couple of sources it's not done yet. It's not a matter of fit. It's a matter of going to Portland, quite honestly. I know his wife is very interested in going to Toronto. They right now are sitting back to see what happens. I would say Turkoglu is either going to leave Portland and have a deal done or closing the door on that situation and moving forward with Toronto. I was told it was very close this morning but the fact that we don't have anything concrete at this point suggests that there's still some mulling being done on the part of Turkoglu.

What?

Update (2:13PM): ESPN's original report on the agreement in principle remains up on ESPN.com.    

Update (2:24PM): Henry Abott offers his take on Hedo-to-Portland by citing this section of Hollinger's analysis...

Portland's approach makes sense even if the dollars seem excessive at first glance. Yes, they're overpaying Hedo Turkoglu, and given his age it's possible they'll end up eating the last two years of the contract. But the way cap space works is that a team might get only one shot at using it, and must take advantage by making the best, strongest move it can for the best fit available.

Turkoglu for $50 million is an imperfect solution, certainly, but it's a far better one than squandering the space by waiting, or by paying similar money to jam a square peg into a round hole. And as Turkoglu's soon-to-be-former teammates in Orlando showed last month, even in the current economic situation overpaying for a part that fits can work out awfully well.

Update (2:56PM): Jason Quick re-writes his lede...

Despite published reports to the contrary, Hedo Turkoglu has not reached an agreement with the Trail Blazers, a team source announced at 2:20 p.m. Friday.     

Update (6:20 p.m.):  Jason Quick now says no deal

The Oregonian has learned that free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu has rejected an offer to sign with the Trail Blazers and has ended negotiations with the team.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

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