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Old 07-08-2009, 09:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Grange: BC making deals to add assets

Michael Grange

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Wednesday, Jul. 08, 2009 01:42AM EDT

The Toronto Raptors will be able to officially introduce the most expensive free-agent signing in their franchise history today, but might not.

Hedo Turkoglu, a versatile forward from Turkey, is expected to be in Toronto when the NBA’s moratorium period ends and teams can officially sign deals with players.

Last night, the league released the annual revenue and salary-cap figures – set for $57.7-million (U.S.) in 2009-10 – so teams can define exactly the terms of the contracts they’ve offered.

Turkoglu, 30, is expected to sign a deal for $53-million over five seasons, capitalizing on his role in helping the Orlando Magic reach the NBA final (where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers).

But such has been the nature of the Raptors’ dealings since the free-agency period began July 1 that finalizing Turkoglu’s contract might take a few additional days.

“There’s a plan, but it’s a fluid plan,” Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said.

Whether the highest-profile free agent the franchise has landed is introduced to the public or not today, he will be in Toronto for a physical and will go about integrating into his new city with his wife, Banu, and new daughter – primarily looking for a place to live.

It was the Toronto lifestyle that was one of the deciding factors for Turkoglu when it came to making up his mind about where to play next season. He had given a verbal commitment to the Portland Trail Blazers and was in Portland last Friday, before a last-minute offer from the Raptors gave him pause.

“It’s a uniquely cosmopolitan and international community, and it suits him and his family best,” Turkoglu’s agent, Lon Babby, said this week. “The comfort level was just best in Toronto.”

Colangelo has been working for some last-second advantages in making deals to add some assets to surround his core players before Turkoglu puts pen to paper.

One possible transaction could involve a sign-and-trade with forward Shawn Marion, subsequently shipping him to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for veteran guard Jerry Stackhouse, whose $7-million contract can be bought out for $2-million. The move could yield the Raptors some cash or future considerations, and might set the stage for another minor move to add depth.
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