The Toronto Raptors got their top offseason target - thanks to some help from Chris Bosh - finalizing the acquisition of Hedo Turkoglu on Thursday.
The 6-foot-10 forward with a great shooting touch hit the market when the Orlando Magic acquired Vince Carter from New Jersey. Turkoglu opted out of his contract and was close to a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers last Friday before Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo swooped in.
He got an assist from Bosh, his All-Star forward.
"Little known fact, Chris helped recruit Hedo last Friday," Colangelo said at a news conference. "(I) reached out to Chris, Chris made a phone call and I would believe that would be a very important call for this guy to get when Chris Bosh calls you and says, 'I want you to come play for us and make us better."'
The pitch worked for Turkoglu, who was already considering Toronto because he liked the city.
"When I heard his voice, I was really happy about it," said Turkoglu, who gets a five-year deal reportedly worth about $53 million. "He's been an All-Star in this league and he's been a dominant player. I was just happy to hear I'm welcome by that type of guy, it's really important. I know he's going to enjoy playing with me and I'm going to enjoy playing with him and other guys, too.
"Hopefully we all have a great year and then he makes his decision to stay here with a great group of guys."
Bosh's future - he can become a free agent next summer - has been in the backdrop of everything the Raptors have done so far this offseason as Colangelo tries to build a team that will convince his four-time All-Star power forward to stay.
"It took some selling, it might have even took some pain, but we found a way to get it done," Colangelo said. "Now we set our sights on making sure that Chris Bosh remains a part of that core as we move forward. And I can tell you with certainty that the moves that have been made, have been met with appreciation and excitement on Chris' part thus far."
Technically, Turkoglu re-signed with the Magic and was traded to Toronto as part of an eight-player, four-team deal. The Raptors also sent Shawn Marion, forward Kris Humphries and center Nathan Jawai to Dallas, and they received swingmen Antoine Wright and Devean George. In addition, Toronto gave Memphis a second-round pick and cash, plus the Raptors gave cash to Orlando.
The Grizzlies also got Jerry Stackhouse from Dallas and sent guard Greg Buckner to the Mavericks.
"This is not common," said Lon Babby, Turkoglu's agent. "It's a credit to this organization and their creativity to find a solution."
Turkoglu, a nine-year NBA veteran from Turkey, helped the Magic reach the NBA finals last season.
Babby said the player and his wife Banu were intrigued by Toronto's ethnic diversity, including a large Turkish community.
Turkoglu averaged 16.8 points and 5.3 rebounds last season, and has averaged 12.3 points and 4.2 rebounds over his career, which included stints with Sacramento and San Antonio before he signed with Orlando as a free agent in 2004.
Turkoglu is a 38.5 percent shooter from 3-point range.
He'll join a team that already has a distinctly international flavor, with Jose Calderon of Spain, Roko Ukic of Croatia, and Andrea Bargnani of Italy, who agreed to a five-year contract extension Wednesday.
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