Savage: Turk's Triumphant Return

By Dan Savage
December 18, 2010

ORLANDO -- It’s no secret that since the moment he left Orlando, fans have been clamoring for the return of “Turkish Basketball.”

Now they’ll get their wish.

As part of a three-team trade, Orlando acquired Hedo Turkoglu on Saturday along with Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark in exchange for Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus.

While Orlando initially thought Carter could be they play-marker at shooting guard it lacked during its Finals run, in truth the eight-time All-Star could never find his niche alongside Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson.

Now the team will turn to Turkoglu to help reinvigorate a stumbling Orlando squad and hopefully reignite some of the magic from the organization’s 2009 chase for the title.

As the Magic’s primary fourth-quarter ball handler during their postseason run, Turkoglu was instrumental, averaging 15.8 points, 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 24 games.

He was phenomenal in a do-or-die, second round Game 7 in Boston, delivering a 25-point, 12-assist, five-rebound performance as part of one of the biggest wins in franchise history.

In the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland, Turkoglu averaged a team-best 6.7 assists to go with his 17.2 points per game.

Dan Savage

And in The Finals, Turkoglu was Orlando’s leading scorer at 18 points per game, while shooting a scorching 49.2 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from 3-point range.

But sadly, since his departure from Orlando, neither Turkoglu nor the Magic have been able to reach the same level of success.

In 2009-10 NBA campaign, both parties fell short of the mark.

The Magic were stopped by the Celtics in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. Meanwhile, following a disastrous 2009-10 campaign with the Raptors, Turk was shipped off to Phoenix and forced to change positions.

Now both sides are hoping that reconciliation will rejuvenate their prospects at winning a championship.

If Turkoglu still has any of this magic left in his hat, chances are it will.

Follow Dan Savage on Twitter here