It seems to be a yo-yo battle of rumors and denials. That might just be how it is until the lockout ends with rumors swirling about various players signing in Europe or going overseas for the duration of the lockout.
Hedo Turkoglu is squarely in the middle of it again. Turkish reporter Kubilay Keceli of Besiktas TV reported Turkoglu is fielding offers from teams in Turkey and Spain that will offer him an opt out to return to the NBA. The details of the offer are leaking out, but it is nowhere near signed.
"Turk Telekom (Ankarra) and a Spanish team have offered Turkoglu a contract for the duration of the lockout," Keceli wrote on Twitter on Sunday (translated using Google Translate). "Turk Telekom and Spain are offering Hedo Turkoglu between 250,000 and 300,000 Euro ($353,000-$424,000) per month to join their team."
This comes about a month after rumors began circulating that Anadalou Efes had agreed to a deal with Turkoglu for the lockout. That rumor died down and nobody is sure if that offer is still on the table. At the time, Turkoglu said he would begin seriously considering offers to play in Turkey or elsewhere after Eurobasket (going on right now).
Turkoglu is currently helping Turkey in Eurobasket, Europe's Olympic qualifying tournament. Through four games, Turkoglu is averaging 10.8 points per game, 2.8 assists per game and 2.5 rebounds per game in 22.8 minutes per game. He is shooting 46.9 percent and is posting a 53.1 percent effective field goal percentage. Those numbers are much better than his regular season numbers with Orlando. Hopefully it will carry over into the season (whenever that starts).
Turkey is 2-2 and has dropped its last two games, falling by one point to Poland on Sunday. Their final group game is today against tournament favorite Spain at about 12:45 p.m. ET. Turkey is fifth in the six-team group and likely needs a win over Spain to advance to the next round of Eurobasket. Failing to advance would probably be a disappointment for Turkey after reaching the championship round of the World Championships last year.
This might be a good thing as Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel suggest. After the Raptors acquired him, Turkoglu admitted he returned from international duties tired and lethargiic. It may have affected his play these past two seasons as Turkoglu has had to manage playing for his country during teh offseason. It suggests a quick exit could help him be ready for the NBA season to begin. And missing the 2012 Olympics entirely could help too.
With three years left on his contract, the Magic are going to need all of Turkoglu (probably at a 2008 or 2009 level) to get back into championship contention. Will playing during the lockout affect that? Who can tell right now?
Again, Turkoglu is expected to make his decision about playing in Europe after Eurobasket concludes.
Photo via DayLife.com.