Thursday , Sep , 25 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Will Rashard Lewis’s Contract Cost Orlando Hedo Turkoglu?

Will Rashard Lewis's Contract Cost Orlando Hedo Turkoglu?

NBA news mixed with analysis …

Their news: Small forward Hedo Turkoglu was the last Magic player to return to Orlando and reunite with teammates after the offseason, arriving Monday night from his native Turkey. 
Turk hopes this won’t be his last summer with the town and the team he adores. 
He said Tuesday that he likely will opt out of his contract after the season to become a free agent, signaling the end of his six-year, $39-million deal with the Magic
.” (Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel)

Our Analysis: Overpaying a free agent creates problems. Last year, in an effort to help fans forget Billy Donovan’s flip-flop, Orlando signed Rashard Lewis to a six year, 123 million dollar contract.  

So Lewis, a blending star, was earning superstar bank. The Magic justified his lofty wage by claiming the on-court product would improve. They were right. The club won fifty-plus games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

Of course, in the NBA, one bloated contract often squeezes other players. And fans predicted problems would eventually ensue, neutralizing last year’s gains.

That time could be now. Just one year later.

Recently, underrated closer Hedo Turkoglu announced plans to opt-out from the final year of his seven million dollar per annum contract in July of 2009. The Turkish star will gladly leave millions on the table because he’s guaranteed big money in free agency. Try 11-13 million dollars per season on a multiyear pact.

Such a raise could be too rich for the Magic. The club has 62 million dollars in committed salary with Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and Lewis already earning big-ticket contracts.

Howard’s ‘max’ deal is in-line for the NBA’s best five-man. Nelson’s eight million dollar contract is reasonable for a starting point guard. Lewis is certainly ‘well’ compensated; his excessive salary leaves little room for Orlando to extend Turkoglu, the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2007-08.

If the forward signs elsewhere next summer, the Magic lose a deadly three-point shooter and an experienced playoff performer.

Like I said, overpaying a free agent has consequences. In Orlando, Lewis’ contract could cost Turkoglu.

Will the Magic lose Turkoglu? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits.