Hedo Turkoglu Will Be a Raptor, So What Happens to Shawn Marion?
Turkoglu's agent Lon Babby admitted Saturday that Hedo made a verbal committment to the Blazers Friday before changing course. That might seem like bad pool, but that's one of the dangers of negotiating deals during the free agency moratorium the first week of July. Last-minute reversals have happened before, and they'll happen again. (It's also worth noting no one confirmed a Portland deal on the record during Friday's crazy hours. Everything was anonymously sourced.)
It remains to be seen where Portland will turn next -- the two available point guards of note (Andre Miller and Ramon Sessions) don't quite fit, while David Lee would crowd an already packed frontcourt led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. The Hedo chase speaks of a management belief that a top flight small forward is needed, but the best of this class -- Turkoglu, Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza -- are spoken for.
One player where the interests of Portland and the requisite dismissal by Toronto could figure is Shawn Marion. Before Hedo flipped up to Ontario, the Raps had been rumored to have Marion under a verbal commitment for a four-year, $34 million contract. Yes, $8.5 million per season for a 31-year-old wing most adept as using unbelievable athleticism to rip the rim to shreds.
It's hard to figure whether last season's dive for Matrix was the result of two new teams (Miami for a few months, followed by a stint in losing Toronto) or a legitimate slide due to age. At his best, Marion is a game-changing defender and complementary scorer. He wouldn't take the pressure off Brandon Roy in the same fashion Hedo would have -- Marion ain't handling the ball or initiating the offense. But he's basically a better, more experienced Nicolas Batum. For a short deal -- maybe three years -- he could be a terrific fit in PDX. We'll see if Portland turns his way, or whether his agent can work out a sign-and-trade from Toronto to avoid the mid-level exception.