Former Portland Trail Blazers wing Evan Turner signed with the team in July of 2016 for $70-million over the course of four seasons. At the time, the deal raised eyebrows among fans because Turner was to be a role player behind guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The price former President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey paid was not aligned with expectations.
Despite the arguable overpay, Turner turned in several productive seasons with the Trail Blazers, matching what was expected of him on the court if not in the checkbook.
Speaking with Jordan Taylor and Anthony Goods The Role Player Podcast last week, Turner recounts receiving the news from his agent and then calling his mother to tell her about the deal.
“I want to tell that story because when I got the seventy-million, like, no flex, but I remember listening, calling my agent, and my agent is like, ‘Yo, Portland wants to give you seventy. Like, seventy-million.’ I’m like, ‘Seventeen?’ And he was like, ‘No, seventy.’ I’m like, ‘No, seventeen?’ And he’s like, ‘No, like seventeen a year.’ And I’m like, ‘Wait, like dollars?! Seventy-million DOLLARS?!’ You know what I mean? And he’s like, ‘Yeah.’ And I’m like, ‘Damn, bruh, this is wild.’
“So, I called my mom. I said, ‘Mom, I’ma sign to Portland. You got to keep it on the low but it’s going to be for seventy.’ And she’s like, ‘Seventeen?’ And I’m like, ‘No, seventy.’ And she’s like, ‘Seventeen?’ And I’m like, ‘No, like a seven and a D. Seven-D. Seven-D.’ And she just literally said, ‘Oh my God.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, we supposed to go to Portland in three days. I just can’t die. I got to get there, sign that paper, and we good.’”
Turner was often maligned, perhaps unfairly, for the percentage of Portland’s cap space his contract absorbed, but was well-liked for his playmaking skills on the court and sense of humor off of it. He last played for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2019-20 NBA season before retiring from basketball at the young age of 31.