After [Hedo] Turkoglu was the second-best player on the Magic team that lost in the 2009 NBA Finals to the Lakers, there was every reason to saddle up the old gang and let them take another shot again last season. But there were $53 million worth of reasons why it didn’t happen, the size of the free agent five-year contract that Orlando wasn’t willing to offer and Turkoglu got in Toronto. [...]
Of course, a bigger version of the same accusation could have been made of the Magic, who blew up the best team in the history of their franchise in the name of fiscal restraint and managing the budget down the line when they were maybe standing on the doorstep of their first championship.
General manager Otis Smith has since admitted his mistake, albeit with a mountain of caveats. Though what really matters now is that Turkoglu returned to Orlando on Dec. 18, the day Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas also arrived in a declaration that shouted the future is now and the Magic have gone 13-6 (.684) since.
“I was disappointed and hurt when our Finals team traded away Hedo and Courtney Lee,” said center Dwight Howard. “I thought that was an awesome team that deserved another chance.”
As perhaps the last remaining dominant center in the league, Howard missed not only Turkoglu’s ballhandling skills and make big shots in key situations, but also his ability to make the entry pass into the low post.
“A 6-10 guy who knows right where I like it and can get it there? Yeah, I was glad to see him back,” Howard said.
Dwight Howard’s quotes are telling and reveal, in a way, his feelings about Vince Carter.