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Thursday Hedo Watch

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At some point I expect to spontaneously combust if I read more non-news on Hedo but given that this is the first big-name free agent the Blazers have chased in years I'll keep going wall-to-wall with the link coverage. As noted in Prez's fanpost, feel free to drop links in these threads and I'll get them up ASAP.

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This afternoon on his radio show Wheels At Work, Blazers Radio play by play announcer Brian Wheeler stated that if things continue to develop as they have been, the Blazers could potentially reach an agreement in principle with Hedo Turkoglu as early as tomorrow.

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This afternoon on 1080 The Fan, Jason Quick said he believes there's a "96 % chance" Hedo will be a Blazer.

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Clyde Drexler weighs in on Hedo on 95.5's MSP this morning. Download the audio here...

Obviously, he's proven himself as a very good player... he's a seasoned veteran.... Do you have a position for him? Power Forward? Small Forward? Do you play him at Point Forward? You have to have an offense designed for his calibre of play.

The Blazers are obviously young, deep and talented and have the best team for the future in the entire league...

Adding a guy like Turkoglu can only improve the chemistry. But if you add Turkoglu, who do you take out of the mix? You've got Fernandez, who I think is just as good. I don't get it.

John Hollinger weighs in on Hedo-to-Portland during a live chat...

I like it .. not sure I love it. He's not really a $50 million player or anything close to it, but he's probably the best fit of the players available.

Why Hedo over Ariza?

Blazers desperately want another player who can create off the dribble so they're not so ridiculously dependent on Roy, something Houston exposed in last year's playoffs. So Hedo fits -- the Blazers can even use the "no PG" lineup like Orlando did and play Rudy-Turk-Roy in the backcourt. As for Ariza, my presumption has been that LA would match any offer for Ariza, and despite the comments put out there yesterday it's not clear to me that LA really isn't willing to go past midlevel for him -- now if they can get Artest for the same money THEN I think Ariza is very portable and a team like Portland should pounce.

What is the biggest downside of bringing in Hedo?

The fact that he's 30 and might stink in two years. That's the downside potential.

Say the Blazers sign Turk. Who do they then trade out of Bayless, Mills, Blake, Rudy, Webster, and Outlaw... you can't have all those guys... can you?

I suspect Outlaw is the one that goes .. cap-friendly with just one year left at $4 mil, and his shot-creating ability won't be needed so much.

Doug Smith of the Toronto Star...

The Raptors seem to have pulled back on a decision to take a run at Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu, who now seems a good bet to land in Portland.

Still, two NBA sources said yesterday they thought Turkoglu was more interested in landing in Toronto than the Pacific Northwest. A report yesterday afternoon that Toronto was planning some exorbitant $60 million offer, however, was debunked by a handful of sources. It would take Toronto renouncing the rights to Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker, Carlos Delfino and others to get a Turkoglu deal done and one league source said a deal with Delfino was "close."

Ken Berger of CBS Sports...

The Toronto Raptors, for one, are deliberating what it would take to make Turkoglu an offer that would top the the five-year, $50 million proposal that Portland can offer, as reported early Wednesday by CBSSports.com. According to a person familiar with the situation, the Raptors are mulling whether they would be better off making a pre-emptive strike for Turkoglu -- which would entail renouncing the rights to Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino, and Anthony Parker -- or trying to keep those players and sign a mid-level free agent. Toronto has yet to offer an extension to 2010 free agent Chris Bosh; that decision is tied to the others. And Turkoglu isn't the only free agent Toronto is considering. League sources indicated early Thursday that the Raptors also were contemplating an offer to restricted free agent David Lee.

Dwight Jaynes with a look at the minute crunch...

If Turkoglu comes to Portland at upwards of $9 million per season, you can expect the team to use him at least 36 minutes a game. A small portion of that time could come at power forward, of course. But the other problem for Rudy is that the Blazers are going to want playing time for their backup small forward(s) - either a developing Batum, who simply cannot ride the pines with his defensive skills, or Martell Webster, who, if he's healthy is going to be a big help with his outside shooting. Or both.

Dwight Jaynes sums up what makes for successful "recruiting"...

Forget the tours. Don't worry about the fancy dinner or the luxury items.

Be careful about bidding against yourself, but you better acknowledge right now what it's really all about. It's always about the money. Always....

Wendell Maxey looks at the market rate being set for NBA free agents...

Ben Gordon was busy laughing all the way to the bank.

Gordon verbally agreed to a five-year, $55 million deal with the Detroit Pistons on the first day of free-agency, and in doing so set the bar far too high for the other free-agents out there looking to get paid in full.

In other words, Ben Gordon done messed the game up.

Because that's the kind of deal Hedo is looking for.

It appears that the Blazers do indeed have an issue on their hands when it comes to Rudy.

Check out this news of a Spanish Radio interview Rudy just gave... translated and summarized by our good friend in Spain amlmart1...

Acording to Marca Rudy talked to Efe Radio:

1º.- There´re always rumors and he knows about them from the press.

2º.- He hasn´t talked to his agents about him leaving the Blazers. He has only comented with them about the possibility of Turkoglu going to Portland.

3º.- He doesn´t close doors to any team from Europe or the NBA.

4º.- Asked about whether Torkoglu going to Portland might affect his playing time, he said: I want to play. We´ll have to talk with Portland and ask them how can I do it.

Also from amlmart1, here's a translated take on the same interview posted on ACB.com...

" Turkoglu is a Guard and we are speaking about almost six for two positions. This makes me think that the team does not give me space for my work. I have demonstrated that I could be more of a factor."

"I have been surprised with the minutes that I have played but if now they pick up a player in my position, that will stop my progression, and what I want is minutes so I can improve."

Nate Jones talks about Ariza in Portland (scroll down or click here for Dave's take)...

Turk is also on the wrong side of 30. I've never been a fan of giving long term deals to non-elite perimeter players over the age of 30.

In contrast, Trevor Ariza does not need the ball in his hands to be effective. On offense he gets his points by slashing to the bucket, picking up garbage put-backs around the rim and hitting spot-up 3s. Also, he's an absolute defensive stud that would help the Blazers in their struggles of guarding some of the league's quicker PGs. He's also only 24 years old.

On top of that, stealing Ariza away from the Lakers would weaken the Blazers' toughest conference foe.

Raptor Blog has this analysis...

Hedo Turkoglu, 30 years old - The greatest Turkish player in NBA history is one of the hottest commodities on the free agent market. Strengths: Hedo is a savvy, gifted offensive player who can contribute both as a scorer and playmaker. Weaknesses: It's a testament to Dwight Howard's impact that the Magic were able to disguise what a mediocre defender he is. Also, he's incredibly overrated as a clutch shooter.

The Dino Nation Blog has come out against Hedo...

According to many sources I am suppose to believe Bryan Colangelo is willing to pass out 50 to 60 million dollars toHedo? That is a hell of a lot of pizza money. Portland and the Raps said to be the front runners. This is one time I am cheering really hard for Raptors to lose. Because if you lose in the end you will really win. That sounds very Yogi Berra like did it not?

Max Handelman of Beyond Bowie writes...

It's funny how conventional wisdom so quickly coalesces, and hardens into an almost impenetrable truth. Right now, in Blazerville, support for signing Hedo Turkoglu (to a reported 5-year, $50 million contract) is probably running at about 10-1.

Where is that number coming from? Sean's Oregonlive poll today has it roughly 50/50. Our previous polls this week have been regularly Anti-Hedo.

John Canzano had a piece about pizza and water.

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