It appears that Hedo Turkoglu's days as a Raptor may soon be over, just one year after he arrived in Toronto on a five-year, $53 million contract via a sign-and-trade deal with the Orlando Magic.
According to the Basketball Jones blog, Turkoglu was interviewed recently on Turkish television, where he revealed that he is actively seeking a release from the Raptors.
Turkoglu was fined and then benched late in the season by the Raptors after allegedly being spotted at a nightclub in Toronto just hours after missing a game with a stomach virus.
In a translation of the interview on the Basketball Jones blog, Turkoglu described his situation:
"When the circumstances turned against me, I lost my enthusiasm for this city. My lawyers have talked to the front office recently. Honestly, I do not want to go back to Toronto," Turkoglu told his Turkish interviewers.
"My lawyers talked to Mr. Colangelo and I hope that they will come up with a solution soon. During this process I talked to [Raptors head coach] Jay Triano several times. I promised him that whether he starts me or not, I will do my best on the court. However, if I had a more temperamental personality, I would have left the team. Yet, I did exactly the opposite. I did my best. I told him that I have no problems with him. I am not a young player, so it's not a big deal for me to come off the bench," said Turkoglu.
By way of explanation for the alleged nightclub incident, Turkoglu says in the interview that he was excused from the game against Denver on Mar. 26 by a team physiologist, and cleared to go home. He says he was later invited out by some teammates to a location that was "100 metres" from his home, and stayed for just 15-20 minutes before going back home.
"The day after, the whole controversy erupted," said Turkoglu. "They claimed that I intentionally skipped the game. And the worst thing is that the people making the claims were from Raptors' management and they wanted to suspend me for two games. My attorney settled the dispute and Mr. [Bryan] Colangelo promised me that things would stay between us.
"The following day, I was fined and did not play against Miami (on Mar. 28). After the statements of the front office, everybody in Toronto heard the news. Think about the situation I am in," said Turkoglu.
The 31-year old veteran played 74 games for the Raptors last season and averaged 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. He logged nearly 31 minutes per game for the Raptors, who are his fourth NBA club. He has also played for Sacramento, San Antonio, and Orlando.