Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Blame Canada!" Recent moves stir things up in the NBA

President Obama is apparently furious at the Canadians. Canada has ruined the Fourth of July for many basketball fans. Reports surfaced Friday night that Hedo Turkoglu had agreed upon a 5 year, $53 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. Earlier reports had him signing with the young Portland Trail Blazers, but it looks like, after a visit to Portland, he prefers the east coast city of Toronto to the west coast city of Portland.

The Turkish player drops this bomb on the American Independence Day, a day that is supposed to be filled with friends, family, fireworks, fries and frankfurters. Magic fans and Blazers fans now find themselves at odds with our neighbor to the North who just stole the breakout player in this year's playoffs.

The Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers find themselves wondering: 'What just happened?' Orlando will struggle to fill the hole left by Turkoglu despite having traded for Vince Carter and Portland will continue to look for the player that can provide them with that little extra push.

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Nothing is set in stone yet, but according to sources reported by Sports Illustrated and ESPN, the deal seems imminent. Turkoglu isn't the only player on the move, however. It looks as though all of this summer's free agents are on the move, except for Carlos Boozer, who I had all but guaranteed would leave the Jazz this offseason. Orlando should look to take advantage of this trend and look for a replacement for Turkoglu, or at least another weapon to add to their arsenal.

The biggest news of the summer comes from Los Angeles, where, in contradiction with the California economy, the rich just seem to get richer. Ron Artest joins Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on an already powerful Lakers team. He replaces Trevor Ariza, who will replace Artest in Houston. If you ask me, though, the Artest signing helps the Lakers more than the Ariza signing helps the Rockets, even if it's Houston's intention to free up cap space.

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Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson are sure to leave Detroit, especially after last year's debacle and the addition of their replacements to the roster. Ben Gordon will be the scoring threat who doesn't like playing off the bench and Charlie Villanueva will replace Wallace at the power forward spot. Iverson is reported to be interested in joining the Memphis Grizzlies and has been in discussions with the Miami Heat as well. After all these years, it would be in Iverson's best interest to finally understand that we already see him as a great player. Maybe then he'd just play his part on a team instead of constantly trying to validate his talent by scoring a bunch of points.

Meanwhile, Rasheed Wallace was wooed by the Boston Celtics brass this week and is apparently deciding between Boston, San Antonio and Orlando. Maybe the Magic will come out of this alright after all. That leaves Jason Kidd, Andre Miller and Lamar Odom as the most recognizable free agent at this point. Kidd is reportedly being pursued by the Mavericks and Knicks. The Knicks may be looking to add Kidd, who would start at the point guard position even if Ricky Rubio somehow joins the team.

Miller and Odom have many potential suitors and the status of other free agents such as Marvin Williams, Anderson Varejao, Mike Bibby and Shawn Marion remains in flux. In what has been a busy start to free agency, we may see more players on the move in the coming days.

Written By Danny Hobrock