Hedo Turkoglu traded to Suns for Leandro Barbosa

Turkoglu traded for Barbosa.


The Suns are on the verge of acquiring forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress, swiftly rebounding from the loss of Amar’e Stoudemire with two impact players. The Suns would send seven-year veteran guard Leandro Barbosa and late-season addition Dwayne Jones to Toronto for Turkoglu, a 6-foot-10 forward from Turkey with versatile skills to shoot from long range and be a playmaker. Toronto would then move Jones and its trade exception from the Chris Bosh sign-and-trade deal to Charlotte for former Suns forward Boris Diaw.

The Suns would use some of their remaining $12.2 million trade exception to make both deals. They acquired the exception in the Stoudemire sign-and-trade Friday and used the first $4 million of it to do a sign-and-trade for Warrick.

Colangelo, just when you’ve written him off he pulls out another rabbit out of his hat and corrects another one of his mistakes. This time it’s the much-hated Hedo Turkoglu who is being shipped to the Phoenix Suns for a player Raptors fans have been in love with for some time – Leandro Barbosa. But forget about Barbosa’s abilities as a player or whether he’ll even want to stay with the Raptors once his contract ends next summer, WE GOT RID OF HEDO TURKOGLU! It doesn’t matter what came back, WE GOT RID OF HEDO TURKOGLU! It feels so great to type those words in, I’m tempted to do it one more time but I won’t because that would be stupi…WE GOT RID OF HEDO TURKOGLU!

Whatever the purpose of P.J Carlesimo’s trip to Turkey was, it worked. Maybe it was to convince Turkoglu to just shut his mouth about leaving Toronto so it wouldn’t hurt his trade value, or maybe it was to convince him to stay and it didn’t work. Whatever the case, who cares because WE GOT RID OF HEDO TURKOGLU!

There’s a reason this trade doesn’t work in the trade-checker, it’s because Phoenix either used the traded player exception from the Stoudemire deal to account for the $2.7M difference in salary, or Jones’ salary (not shown in trade-checker) is greater than $650K to make this work straight-up (thanks, “J”). Turkoglu had $44M and four years left on his deal, and Barbosa has two years for a total of $14.8M left (last year is a player option). The total savings for the Raptors is $29.3M, but more importantly, we got rid of a player that was just not a good fit. His defense was bad, his offense was extremely perimeter oriented, his attitude was poor and his contract was terrible. It doesn’t matter if Barbosa comes in and rides the pine behind Marcus Banks for 82 games, this is still a good deal!

Turkoglu’s contract or persona just didn’t fit with what the Raptors have planned for the next few years and it’s great to see us part ways with a player that didn’t want to be here. Good luck to Phoenix! They’re trying to recover from the loss of Amare Stoudemire by rebuilding “on the fly” and good luck to them; I’ve always liked the Suns franchise and hope it works out for them, even though I can’t figure out how Nash can co-exist with someone as ball-hungry as Turkoglu. The good news for Turk is that he won’t be asked to play too much defense in Phoenix which fits him just right.

I have to address the talk of the Raptors acquiring Boris Diaw by using the Chris Bosh TPE. Diaw is a power forward of which we have 18 of, so I’m not sure if that makes any sense, especially because he’s owed $9M over the next two seasons. He’s definitely more serviceable to us than Hedo Turkoglu, but I’d rather just not. If we do get him, there are positives. Diaw is an excellent pick ‘n roll defender and has the ability to cover threes, he’s also a solid on-the-block defender which makes him a very versatile fit for a defensive system. He is a poor rebounder for a PF and to illustrate that point here’s a stat: Andrea Bargnani has a higher TRB% rate than him – 9.4 to 9.8. I am also concerned about him slowing the growth of Ed Davis, but since the Raptors don’t have a legitimate small forward, he could play the three which would be interesting. A front-court of Bargnani-Johnson-Diaw just might have enough balance of offense and defense to be effective. This would also mean that Sonny Weems and DeMar DeRozan could see more time at the three (especially if Kleiza doesn’t happen), thus giving Belinelli a chance to get some minutes with Barbosa at the two. It’s all speculation at this point, but at least there’s something to be excited about.

Barbosa will immediately challenge Jarrett Jack or Jose Calderon for minutes, and this transaction very likely signals the end of one of those two. Which one it is, I don’t know and frankly I don’t care. Barbosa’s speed, agility, and athleticism fits in nicely with the “Young Guns” approach to things, much better than Jarrett Jack and worlds better than Jose Calderon. His defense isn’t great because he tries to cheat for steals and leak-outs for easy baskets, but its not like Calderon or Jack were defensive stalwarts by any means. Since his offensive game at the PG is so unorthodox, it would make some sense to retain Jose Calderon who is the exact opposite of Barbosa – conservative, measured and processes the game at a slower pace. Whichever side of the Calderon/Jack debate you might be on, the one thing you have to admit is that we now have options.

His role in Phoenix was very loosely defined and that’s got everything to do with Phoenix not really holding players to their natural position. In Toronto, his role in that sense shouldn’t change as he’ll be pluggable as a PG or a SG, offering options for Triano. It should be noted that, at 6’3″, he does give up some height, but his offense is such a game-changer that you’d willingly play him at SG alongside a traditional PG because his speed, pace, shooting and score-first mentality can turn the game on its head. He did suffer through an ankle-injury (picked up against the Raptors) so it remains to be seen if he’s lost a bit of quickness from that.

I hate the term “volume shooter” because it is usually used when referring to players who need a lot of shot attempts to get their game off, all the while shooting a low percentage. Barbosa is different, in the four seasons he’s averaged close 10 or higher shots per game, his FG% has been between the 46-50% range, twice surpassing the 48% mark. He also addresses the Raptors’ need for three-point shooting, making 40% of his threes throughout his career. He only played 44 games last year due to injury and struggled shooting 42%, with Goran Dragic emerging as a cheap alternative to backup PG duties, Phoenix could afford to lose Barbosa.

I’m pumped.

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