Denton: Turk to the Clippers?

By John Denton
Jan. 6, 2014

LOS ANGELES – Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn always loves coming back to his hometown of Los Angeles, but he said his family knows well in advance that he is here on business and not to socialize.

Still, Vaughn feels a great sense of accomplishment coming back to Los Angeles as a head coach in the NBA. It’s different than when he came back to Los Angeles as a NBA player for the first time 15 years ago, but still very rewarding on a different sort of level. Vaughn said he owes much of his success to his parents and other people in Los Angeles who helped to shape him in the successful person that he’s become.

``I know I have a lot of people here who are supportive and are proud of me,’’ Vaughn said. ``No matter where I have go ne in my travels – whether it was off to school, playing in my career or coaching – this is home for me. It’s what reared me, whether it was my church or the park where I grew up playing basketball – all of that is a part of me to this day.’’

Following an All-American career at Kansas University, Vaughn played in the NBA for 12 seasons before eventually becoming an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs. He was named the Magic’s head coach in July of 2012, and his Orlando squad won twice in Los Angeles against the Lakers and Clippers last season.

Vaughn said returning to his home city as a NBA head coach is a different feeling than doing so as a player. Vaughn said the satisfaction as a player comes with reaching the highest level of basketball. As a coach, it’s more about teaching players and making a difference in their lives and the level isn’t as important.

``As a player this is the elite level of playing. As a coach you can still touch people’s lives, coach and teach them at a lot of levels,’’ Vaughn said. ``Some people have no aspirations of coaching at this (NBA) level. For me, just this opportunity of coaching and teaching – whether it’s at the NBA level or not – it’s still the pillar for me. A lot of teachers and coaches are OK with where they are.’’

TURK TO THE CLIPPERS? Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers admitted on Monday that his franchise has discussed the possibility of signing former Magic small forward Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu, who has kept a home in Orlando, works out regularly in Central Florida and the Clippers have had scouts watch those workouts.

Orlando waived Turkolgu last Friday after he had stayed on the roster all season, but was not a part of the team. Orlando tried to include Turkoglu in a trade for months, but instead waived the 13-year NBA veteran in order to save on the unguaranteed portion of his contract.

Turkoglu played nine seasons in Orlando over two stints. One of the best games of Turkoglu’s career came in the playoffs in 2009 against the Boston Celtics when he poured in 25 points and handed out 15 assists to lift the Magic to a Game 7 victory. Rivers was the coach of the Celtics at the time and said he’s always liked Turkoglu’s versatility while playing either the small forward or power forward positions.

The Clippers are looking for ball-handlers and playmakers in light of Chris Paul’s shoulder injury that will sideline the all-star point guard for five weeks.

``I just like him as a player. He’s out there and we should look at him,’’ Rivers said. ``I’ve always liked him. He can shoot and he can play three and four. It’s a position that we can use in some ways. Yeah, we’re looking.’’

RETURN OF J.J. REDICK: Rivers said that injured guard J.J. Redick is back at practice and could return fully in the coming week. Redick fractured a bone in his right hand and tore a ligament on Oct. 29, halting what was a fabulous start to the season.

Redick spent the first seven years of his career with the Magic, blossoming into a go-to scorer and play-makers for Orlando over the last three years. Last season, he averaged 15.1 points and 4.4 assists in 50 games with the Magic. Redick, a pending free agent, was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks and he later was a part of a sign-and-trade transaction to the Clippers.

When Redick played for the Magic last season, he drilled a game-winning 3-pointer to beat the Clippers. Now, L.A. is desperate to get Redick back on the floor as much for his competitiveness and drive as for his dead-eye 3-point shooting.

``He looked OK. He’s not shooting 3s or a lot of them. You could see every shot that he took he made a point of taking it into the paint, so strength-wise (he’s still lacking),’’ Rivers said. ``He’ll get there soon. The fact that he’s shooting, that’s a good sign.’’