76ers Continue to Shop Evan Turner
It’s no secret that the Philadelphia 76ers are open to moving Evan Turner. The 25-year-old has seen his name surface in trade rumors repeatedly throughout the year, and coming into this season he even told reporters that he was shocked he wasn’t dealt over the summer.
It seems that a split between Turner and the Sixers is inevitable. New general manager Sam Hinkie wants to put his fingerprints on the franchise by adding his own personnel and moving Turner could allow him to get a young asset he values or a first-round draft pick to add to his stockpile.
The latest update on Turner’s future comes from Sean Deveney of Sporting News, who reports that Philadelphia has been “stepping up their efforts to make a move” before the Feb. 20 deadline and that Turner has been involved in those trade talks.
It’s possible that 2010’s No. 2 overall pick will be moved in the next two and a half weeks, ending his four-season stint with the Sixers.
Deveney mentions that the Sixers want to get a first-round pick back for Turner, and that the Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns are two teams that have expressed interest in the swingman this season.
The issue that the Sixers are having as they try to move Turner is that rival executives know that Philadelphia has no real interest in keeping him long-term. There were no extension discussions between Hinkie and Turner’s camp earlier this season, so there’s real doubt that Philadelphia will re-sign Turner.
“I never expected to get a contract extension, especially when we switched GMs, you know?” Turner told Sporting News. “I always said, Mr. Hinkie is going to do what he wants to do, and he has his own vision and everything like that. So when you trade an All-Star like Jrue [Holiday], I mean, what occurs next isn’t going to surprise me. I was just trying my best to keep focused, keep helping the team win and getting better.”
Philly can extend a $8,717,226 qualifying offer to Turner this offseason to make him a restricted free agent, but they may not (which would mean that Turner would be unrestricted). Even if they do extend the qualifying offer, it’s unlikely they would match a large offer for him. So why would a rival executive give away a valuable first-round pick when they could just sign Turner this offseason?
“It wouldn’t be smart to give up assets for a player you think you can just sign on your own in July,” one general manager told Deveney. “If you don’t need to trade anything away to get him, then why would you?”
Turner, for his part, is doing a good job ignoring all of the rumors and focusing on his game.
“I don’t pay attention to it anymore,” Turner said. “I just keep trying to get better, keep trying to play. I know I can play basketball. At the end of the day, you have to see who takes it, who is running with that, who is writing what they’re writing. Some people never played basketball a day in their life, and now they think they taught me how to play. I can’t fight people with pens or anything like that. I just try to keep getting better.”
During his first two seasons in the league, he received a lot of criticism because expectations were so high for him after he was selected with the second overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He admits that the criticism affected him.
“I was young. When it came down to it, I got blamed for dang near everything,” Turner said. “I wasn’t this, I wasn’t that. You become insecure about it. … That’s what the No. 2 tag comes with. Sometimes there are people who write stuff and say stuff that don’t even watch the game, you know what I am saying? I enjoyed my first two years. My first year, we made it to the playoffs, I was able to play some big minutes, get some experience. Second year, the same thing occurred but, they’re screaming at me that I am not a scorer or this, that and the other. Those two years, the most anyone scored was 14 points—I averaged 10.”
These last two seasons, his numbers have been much. This year, he’s averaging a career-high 18.1 points along with six rebounds, 3.8 assists and one steal. While that has helped him silence his critics, it has also increased his trade value around the league. That means he could be one of several Sixers – along with Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes – who may be on the move before the trade deadline.
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Lowry, Dragic Named Players of the Week
When the All-Star reserves were announced last week, the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and Phoenix Suns’ Goran Dragic were considered two of the biggest snubs since they’ve been having monster seasons for surprisingly successful teams. And sure enough, both players continued their strong play after learning they were snubs, taking home the NBA’s latest Player of the Week honors.
Lowry and Dragic were named the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 27, through Sunday, Feb. 2.
In leading the Raptors to a 3-1 week, Lowry ranked fourth in the conference in scoring (25.0 ppg), second in assists (8.0 apg) and ninth in steals (2.3 spg). Lowry topped 30 points points in consecutive games for the first time in his career (Jan. 27-29), including a season-high 33 in a 98-83 win over the Orlando Magic last Wednesday. He made 16 three-point field goals on the week.
Ranking seventh in the conference in scoring (26.8 ppg) and tied for eighth in assists (6.0 apg), Dragic led the Suns to a 4-0 record, with three victories coming on the road. For the week, Dragic had the sixth-highest field goal percentage in the West (.639), including the second-highest percentage from distance (.692). He scored at least 20 points in all four contests, including a game-high 28 points in a 112-94 win at Indiana on Jan. 30, to give Suns season-sweep of the Pacers.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Charlotte’s Al Jefferson, Houston’s Jeremy Lin, Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Memphis’ Zach Randolph, Miami’s LeBron James, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Washington’s John Wall.
Joerger, Kidd Named Coaches of the Month
The Brooklyn Nets’ Jason Kidd and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Dave Joerger today were named the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in January.
Kidd led the Nets to a 10-3 (.769) record in January, tops in the Eastern Conference. The Nets tallied two five-game winning streaks during a month in which they held opponents to 95.3 ppg, having allowed 102.4 ppg during games spanning October-December. Only four of 13 opponents topped the century mark against Brooklyn, which recorded wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder (Jan. 2) and Miami HEAT (Jan. 10).
Joerger led Memphis to the league’s best record in January at 12-3 (.800). The Grizzlies went 7-1 on the road and closed the month by winning 10 of their final 11 games. Memphis, which allowed just three of 15 January opponents to score 100 or more points, swept a home-and-home from the Houston Rockets on Jan. 24-25, and then traveled to Moda Center on Jan. 28, where they topped the Portland Trail Blazers 98-81.
Both coaches helped get their team back into the playoff picture after struggling out of the gate this season. As of right now, Brooklyn is the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference while Memphis is the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau, Houston’s Kevin McHale, Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, New York’s Mike Woodson, Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.
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