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NBA Daily: Evan Turner on Trade Rumors And The West Playoff Race

Basketball Insiders spoke with Evan Turner about the NBA trade deadline, dealing with trade rumors as a rookie and the state of the Trail Blazers.

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The Portland Trail Blazers are in the middle of the pack of teams fighting for seeding in the Western Conference. Veteran forward Evan Turner shared his thoughts with Basketball Insiders on how to overcome the NBA trade season and the rumors that come with it, the state of the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference playoff race. Turner, now in his eighth season in the NBA, also offered perspective as a former high-profile rookie and broke down how rumors affect rookies and younger players who are not accustomed to the NBA trade season.

“[W]hen you’re first getting into the NBA, you don’t really comprehend it. Especially when you’re typically cream of the crop,” Turner stated. “You don’t really comprehend it and the trades.”

After John Wall was taken with the first pick, Turner was selected second by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2010 NBA draft. In Philadelphia, he put up some of his best statistics of his career, culminating in his third season full of career high numbers that hehas not matched since. The following season, Turner was traded mid-season. Turner described the control that you might feel as a higher profile player believing you won’t be traded and how that changes as you get older.

“You come from a situation where you always had control to a certain extent whether you leave or not,” Turner said. “So, as you get older you comprehend it’s more of a business. You also comprehend that everything in life is not really worth discussing until it presents itself, you know, legitimately.”

February 20 will be the four-year anniversary of a trade that brought forward Danny Granger to the 76ers in exchange for Turner. Now years removed from that trade, rumors of a potential deal between Turner’s team, the Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers have surfaced (this newly rumored trade focuses on Clippers center DeAndre Jordan). Turner gave his thoughts on how he views rumors that occasionally include his name.

“I don’t really pay attention to it anymore. You don’t really have any control over it. Like, when it actually happens to me, it’s worth paying attention to. Rumors are rumors, anyone can make them up,” Turner stated.

Occasionally, details of trades sometimes leak before a deal is agreed upon. However, trades can occur without much notice to the surprise of the players themselves and other players around the league. Turner shared his thoughts on the Blake Griffin trade.

“So, you know, it’s just crazy, the activity in regards to Blake [Griffin] happened this early on,” Turner stated. “I thought it would have been closer to the deadline but it is what it is.”

Despite all the talk of trades that include other players and perhaps him as well, Turner did not hesitate to commend the Trail Blazers on the quality of their recent play overall and defense in particular.

“I thought we’ve been playing really well. I think defensively we’ve picked it up really well. I think, obviously, we’ve been battle-tested in a lot of close games we’ve been in.  We’ve been playing pretty well,” Turner said.

Despite the strong play, Turner also lamented recent losses in close games.

“A lot of teams we lost to did a great job. Certain games we’re going to look back on. We probably gave certain games away. You have to finish it off and learn from those past errors,” Turner stated. “We just have to figure out how to close out games.”

The Trail Blazers have made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. Starting with last season, the Trail Blazers have finished eighth, fifth, fourth and fifth in the Western Conference. The team won two of those four first-round match ups, both times as the fifth seed.

Turner still sees potential in the Trail Blazers as the team tries to cement its place in this year’s race.

“I think we have to focus and keep growing. You want to finish top four,” Turner stated.

As of right now, the team is 29-24 and only a half-game back of the Oklahoma City Thunder for fifth place after winning seven of their last 10 games. At the same time, the Trail Blazers are also only half a game and one game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans and Denver Nuggets, respectively.

“You know, there’s going to be 10 or 11 teams [in the Western Conference] that’s going to be top every time, especially on the road. There’s some dogs over here,” Evans stated.

While discussing the need to win while dealing with rumors, Turner summarized his thoughts succinctly.

“Comprehend it’s a business, don’t take it personal. Control what you can control. Whether it be rumors popping off. Just make sure you’re always ready to play, don’t make any excuses for that,” Turner stated.

With the race for playoff seeding in the Western Conference so close, the Trail Blazers will have to stay focused and, as Turner recommends, ignore any trade rumors that might involve them and simply focus on playing as well as possible.

James Blancarte is a writer for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney based in Los Angeles, California.

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