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Marc Stein: Hedo Eating With Nate, Touring Portland

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9:33AM ESPN's Marc Stein just tweeted...

Hedo Turkoglu is having dinner with Nate McMillan tonight. Hedo's then touring Portland on Thursday. ESPN.com link forthcoming shortly    

And here's a link to Marc Stein's  ESPN piece.

Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan is flying to Orlando to have a Wednesday night dinner with the Blazers' top free-agent target, Hedo Turkoglu.

Turkoglu's agent, Lon Babby, said Wednesday that Turkoglu will then travel to Oregon for a Thursday tour of the Blazers' facilities and meetings with Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn

....

Turkoglu is widely expected to land with the Blazers as the first marquee free-agent signing of Pritchard's reign.    

Chris Broussard on ESPN radio...

"There's no way he goes back to Orlando. They're not going to have the money. They offered him close to $9 a year for 4 years.  Now that they have Vince Carter, Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis on the books... they won't be able to come close to that offer.

The only way he could end up back in Orlando is if Portland and Toronto withdrew offers or didn't make offers, if Detroit doesn't make him an offer and then he has to settle for the Mid-Level Exception, then Orlando could pay him that.

Portland can offer him $9 million dollars a year to start they are very interested in him. Bryan Colangelo is going to go hard after Hedo (ed. note: pause).   He's dying to get him up there. He's going to wind up in one of those two spots."  

More Chris Broussard on ESPN video...

Portland reached out right away to Turkoglu. They made him a priority. They can offer him a long term contract starting around 9 million dollars a year. Orlando can't come close to that...

Toronto also has a lot of interest. Detroit may have interest. Turkoglu will either go to Portland or Toronto. Portland is probably the favorite at this point.

Even more Chris Broussard on another ESPN video... he's exposing himself here... 

He's going [from Orlando]. It's a neck and neck between Portland Toronto. I'm going to say Toronto because GM Bryan Colangelo is desperate to sign Hedo. He wants a starting lineup of Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Hedo Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh. 

1:14PM: Jason Quick of The Oregonian...

Sources say Toronto is preparing an offer of five years and $60 million for Turkoglu.     

...

A source inside the Blazers said Turkoglu's signing is designed to provide more help for team star Brandon Roy, who was surrounded by defenders in a first-round playoff loss to Houston. Turkoglu, the Blazers figure, is such a good passer and shooter, that it would alleviate the pressure for Roy to create all the offense.

Turkoglu, 30, plays small forward, a position that is already heavily fortified for the Blazers. If he signs in Portland, it would probably signal a trade of either Martell Webster, Nicolas Batum or Travis Outlaw.

4:12PM: Jason Quick has reversed course, apparently, telling 1080AM The Fan that the Raptors are no longer in the running for Turkoglu.

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.

"I heard from five teams last night. Portland was first right at midnight," Babby said.
Asked if the Magic were one of those teams, Babby said, "I have not spoken with (General Manager ) Otis (Smith) yet."
The Magic are not expected to be in the running for Turkoglu after signing Vince Carter.
The other teams pursuing Turkoglu, 30, are likely to be the Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies.    

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wishes Hedo happy trails.

I know, the free-agency period just started at midnight Tuesday and it's not yet official that Turk will sign with another team. I read the article where Magic General Manager Otis Smith hasn't completely shut the door on bringing back Turk. I even spoke with Turk's agent, Lon Babby, who also left the door cracked when he said, "I'm not ready to talk about Hedo and the Magic in the past tense."

Come on, can we stop kidding ourselves? The chances of Turk re-signing with the Magic are about the same as Bernie Madoff getting elected banker for the Monopoly tournament during board-game night at the federal pen.    

John Canzano tweeted this morning...

Communicated with Hedo Turkolu's agent this morning... interesting stuff... I'll have the latest on the BFT 3-6 p.m. on 95.5-FM.    

Dwight Jaynes on DwightJaynes.com...

It's a test, too - can this franchise lure a key player to Portland? Can Kevin Pritchard make this city a destination for good players looking to win a championship? Or are those players going to do what they usually do - stay with their original team for money or seek the big markets and/or the sun belt?

That's what we should all be thinking about. But just from the comments in the last few days about Hedo Turkoglu, I have a feeling a lot of Trail Blazer fans are pretty conflicted. Is this really the player who is going to put Portland over the top? Is small forward the position where you felt the most need? Is this a guy you want to see $50 million invested in?

Runyon over at the Trail Post feels strongly...

I never thought I'd see the day when Kevin Pritchard falls victim to that horrible specter known as "conventional wisdom" but here we are. We see a guy who has never been great produce well in one playoffs, and all of a sudden he's the hottest commodity out there. Why aren't we running his numbers through the thousand Nobel-worthy algorithms that we use in the draft? This is free agency in a recession, and we're the big buyer. We don't need to blow it on a guy that offers little marginal improvement.    

Coup from Rip City Project with his take...

We agree that the signing would make Outlaw very expendable, but while I know it's a common thought to say "there won't be enough shots to go around", that angle gets overblown every single year around this time. Free agents know what kind of situation they are signing into, and do you really believe Hedo or Roy and Co. are going to complain if they're winning. On every championship team every year, there are players that could/should get more shots with another franchise.    

Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune..

Two sources say they don’t expect small forward Hedo Turkoglu to land in Portland. The 6-10, 220-pound Turkoglu, 30, opted out of a contract with Orlando that would have reaped $7.3 million next season, and he rejected a four year, $35-million extension offer by the Magic shortly after the NBA finals.

"Anybody who’s a decent player, Portland might make a run at him," one of the sources says. "I think it’s more likely (Turkoglu) winds up with Toronto, but you never know." 

Jason Fleming from HoopsWorld.com...

Will the Blazers convince Turkoglu they have the right place for him to sign what is likely to be his final big contract of his career? Both sides must be on the same page so far, since all of this likely leaves little room for Turkoglu to get the hard sell from anyone else (namely the Detroit Pistons, who were also linked to him initially).

Word from sources close to the Blazers is that if the team does sign Turkoglu the deal won't be for the widely reported number of $10 million per season - no word on what it would actually be.

Kelly Dwyer with his thoughts...

They're trying to add a guy who made his hay as a late-game finisher? Read that again. His value is inflated because of his late-game heroics. The team would be overpaying for something it already has in spades.

What is wrong with this picture? Why are they adding a player who is past his prime (Hedo's numbers dropped across the board in 2008-09, after hitting an NBA players' typical career-best at age 29, in 2007-08) to a team full of players that haven't even hit their prime?

...

Portland, Hedo Turkoglu is 30. He's a fine player, but an average one, especially after you factor defense in. Please act accordingly.

More Dwight Jaynes on Rudy implications...

LATE ADD: The word around the league is that Rudy's agent has made it clear to the Trail Blazers that if Turkoglu signs with Portland, it's time to trade Rudy.    

Henry Abbott weighs in over at Beyond Bowie...

"They all shoot and create. I don't know what their plan is, but if I coached, I'd always have at least two playmakers on the floor. Rudy, Hedo and Roy. So Rudy and Hedo are speed unit while Roy rests. (Hedo ran break for Magic, and was good at it.). All 3 in crunch time.

We know Rudy and Roy are nice together. And Roy and Hedo can have side P/R with Roy on weakside. Roy and Hedo can also be the backcourt of a HUGE lineup. And all 3 in crunch time.

It's Blake whose minutes might suffer the most, I bet.    

I'll update this post throughout the morning with the latest Hedo buzz. Please help the effort by dropping any links you find in the comments. Refresh regularly!

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