As reported earlier, the Portland Trail Blazers are extending a 4-year/$70 million offer to Boston Celtics swingman Evan Turner this week. Reaction to the news among national media analysts has been measured, at best.
Jordan Greer of Sporting News doesn't balk at the size of the contract, but questions Turner's fit in Portland.
Turner can play the wing or the point on offense, which could take some of the burden off the shoulders of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
But that could also be the problem. Turner, Lillard and McCollum are all at their best with the ball. They are creators on offense, and if the Trail Blazers plan to put them on the floor at the same time (which is reportedly what Turner was told will happen), Turner will be left spotting up on a significant number of possessions. That's not ideal considering Turner shot 24.1 percent from 3-point range last season on only 83 3-point attempts.
Terry Stotts will have to do his best maneuvering to smooth out the rotation and figure out how Turner fits into the game plan. Otherwise Turner could quickly become "The Villain" in Portland.
Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated is less subtle, beginning his analysis by calling Turner a "pricey back-up plan" and concluding like this:
For a signing of this magnitude, though, a franchise should want to feel like its biggest weakness was resolved. That didn't happen here, likely forcing the Blazers to continue to rely on Mason Plumlee in the middle. Similarly, one would hope that $70 million, even in this climate, would land an above-average starter. It's not clear that Turner qualifies on that front, either.
If Turner can't settle into the right complementary role on offense and if his outside shooting struggles continue in a system that relies heavily on the three, this move, which rightfully raised eyebrows on Friday, has serious backfire potential.
Christopher Reina of RealGM has a more positive outlook:
Turner defends isolations well and his size protects against the Blazers' small backcourt. Portland will presumably move Al-Farouq Aminu up to start at power forward and Turner's price is low enough where they should be able to retain their restricted free agents.
The Blazers had to spend their cap space on someone and this is a considerably wiser investment than Parsons on a four-year, $95 million deal. It is rare to love a free agent signing for a player of Turner's caliber but it should be a more than fine deal at an annual average of $17.5 million, especially if he can be the mid-30s three-point shooter he appeared capable of earlier in his career. The faith I have in Portland's program makes that improvement seem possible even for a 28-year-old.
Grade for Blazers: B-
Further reactions via Twitter:
The pretty much universal opinion on Evan Turner to Portland at that price is shock from around the league. This will be a wild month.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 1, 2016
FWIW, $70 million over four years for Evan Turner was almost exactly the most the Blazers could make without renouncing any key free agents.— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) July 1, 2016
2015-16 NBA— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) July 1, 2016
375 rebounds, 350 assists, fewer than 200 turnovers..
Under appreciated Celtic, on and off the court.
Arguably the biggest winner in the Evan Turner signing (besides Evan Turner) is Mason Plumlee.— Danny Leroux (@DannyLeroux) July 1, 2016
Hard for Portland to add another center now.
We'll have more reactions as they roll in.