After spending training camp, the preseason and the regular season in a purgatory of sorts, Hedo Turkoglu's period of limbo with the Orlando Magic is nearing a resolution.
The veteran small forward can expect to have his situation resolved no later than the close of business on Jan. 7.
Turkoglu, 34, no longer fits into the team's plans.
Team officials prefer to allocate his playing time to younger players, such as 21-year-old Tobias Harris or 20-year-old Maurice Harkless. Even 28-year-old Arron Afflalo, a natural shooting guard, has started 15 games at Turkoglu's position of small forward this season to open time for rookie Victor Oladipo to play one of the guard positions.
Rather than have Turkoglu around the team, Magic executives and Turkoglu agreed to have Turkoglu sit out training camp, the preseason and the regular season.
Rather than cut Turkoglu, who is in the final year of his contract, team officials have kept him on the roster because his contract is an asset that potentially could be used in a trade and net the Magic an asset in return.
Still, the Magic won't keep Turkoglu beyond Jan. 7.
For now, only $6 million of his $12 million salary for this season is guaranteed.
But, in order to owe him just $6 million, the Magic must waive him or trade him no later than 5 p.m. on Jan. 7.
That's because a waived player has 48 hours to clear waivers, and all non-guaranteed contracts across the NBA will become fully guaranteed on Jan. 10.
In other words, if the Magic have Turkoglu on their roster on Jan. 8 and waive him that day, he will not clear waivers before the time his contract becomes fully guaranteed. And, therefore, the Magic would be obligated to pay him $12 million instead of $6 million.
Oladipo played just 16 minutes, 18 seconds during Monday's 103-98 loss to the New York Knicks.
That's a career low for the rookie, and he didn't play at all in the second half.
Coach Jacque Vaughn used just six players in the second half: Jameer Nelson, Afflalo, Harris, Glen Davis, Nik Vucevic and Jason Maxiell.
Nelson, Afflalo, Harris, Davis and Vucevic outscored the Knicks 35-19 in the third quarter, and Vaughn elected not to tinker with their success, except to give Davis and Vucevic rests in the fourth quarter.
"I think we were the aggressors in the second half," Vaughn said. "We pushed the pace. We had kick-aheads where guys were attacking in transition. I think we tried to dictate what was going to go on."
Vaughn wasn't concerned about wearing his veterans down because the Magic won't play again until they host the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
"What flashed in my mind," Vaughn said, "was we do have three days until our next game. I think in the huddle . . . in the third I made a conscious decision I was going to ride with that group. They finished the third quarter and got us within 10. I wanted to try to seize the opportunity for us to try to get a lead and push forward."
In his 16-plus minutes, Oladipo scored three points on 1-of-4 shooting. He had one assist and one turnover.
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