10:15 PM EST, February 13, 2013
Hedo Turkoglu didn't have firm footing in the Magic's future as it was.
Now, given he has been suspended 20 games for using steroids, he might never set a sneakered shoe on the court for the Magic again.
It's a very likely ending. The club's oldest player, he'll turn 34 next month. He isn't a factor in their rebuild and has been available for only 11 games, one as a starter, this season.
Turkoglu has been in a three-year tailspin and now — as an aging player seeking an edge — he has fractured an image the Magic are trying to repair since Dwightmare.
Turk's contract expires after next season. With him sitting next to general manager Rob Hennigan on Wednesday, Hennigan didn't throw his unwavering support behind Turk or assure the veteran he would remain in Orlando.
"I think we're going to get through this step first. We'll worry about the summer when summer comes," Hennigan said. "Certainly, the Hedo situation will be one of them. We're not able to comment now on what that situation will be."
Added Hennigan, "He made a mistake. He's owning it. Certainly a disappointing mistake for us."
The Magic could buy him out of his contract. His deal expires after next season, and he's guaranteed $6 million.
The chances of trading Turk before the Feb. 21 deadline have gone from slight to zilch. He has excused himself as a fairly cheap asset. If the club was hoping to attach Turk in any deal for J.J. Redick, that long-shot notion has evaporated.
No team would want to take a PR hit to acquire any player penalized for PEDs — well, at least not a pedestrian player. Somehow, if LeBron James ever got caught juicing, other clubs might overlook the indiscretion.
Turkoglu said he didn't know the substance he took last summer was on the NBA's banned list, kicking himself for not "double-researching." That's a hard sell in the day and age of Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez.
He said he was being bothered by a nagging shoulder injury. He tried a typical shortcut solution for an older player needing to trick his body.
Turk did come into training camp in great, eye-opening shape. That had not always been the case during his career, given that the affable, laid-back native of Turkey is not adverse to enjoying a night on the town and the NBA good life.
Although the Magic were focusing on a youth movement, Turk started the opening game of the season. But he broke his hand and struggled to recover after surgery. He has been an afterthought since then, enduring his worst season. Now this.
"It wasn't really a good year for me," Turk said. "It's just sad. As a player, you face lot of injuries. ... This type of situation, you don't want to put yourself in."
The popular Turk blossomed in Orlando, winning the league's most-improved-player award. His downfall began after the Magic decided he wasn't worth a big contract, sending him to Toronto in the summer of 2009.
Though he hit the mother lode — five years, $53 million — Turk was miserable. He was bashed by the Canadian media. The Raptors wanted him out as much as Turk wanted out, and he was dealt to Phoenix.
Former Magic GM Otis Smith, admittedly, had made one of his best moves in letting him go — and then one of his worst in bringing him back in a trade with the Suns. Turk wasn't the same.
Now he might have been saying goodbye.
"I've had my best years in Orlando," Turk said. "This certainly is not in my hands…. Like Rob [Hennigan] says, we will wait until the summer for both futures."
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