PHOENIX - MAY 25: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns congratulates teammate Leandro Barbosa #10 after a play against the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 25, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Leandro Barbosa Happy To Be Gone From Phoenix

It was fairly well known that Leandro Barbosa was unhappy with his role on the Suns last season. However, he has confirmed that he requested a trade from the team.

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Leandro Barbosa Confirms He Asked To Be Traded

This really doesn't come as a surprise, but Leandro confirmed to Dime Magazine what we probably knew but refused to acknowledge all along.

Dime Q&A: Leandro Barbosa on the Toronto trade and Team Brazil | Dime Magazine (dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

Dime: How are you feeling about the trade to the Raptors?

Leandro Barbosa: I’m happy. It’s a better situation for me, because I know that I will play more minutes than I used to in Phoenix. I’m a little bit sad because I loved Phoenix and I love the friends that I made in the organization. I will miss that. But I think everybody knows the NBA is a business, and we’re all involved in that business. Any day it can happen, and this time it happened to me.

Dime: Did you know there was a trade in the works?

LB: Yeah, I knew I was going to get traded. I asked for a trade after the season. I told Phoenix I wanted to play in a better situation for me, which I think I have in Toronto. I didn’t get that chance to play a lot in Phoenix, so I wanted to go to a different team. The first team that came was Toronto, and I have a good relationship with Bryan Colangelo, so everything worked out.

Dime: What is your role going to be with the Raptors?

LB: I don’t know what my role or what position I’m going to play yet, but I’m going to do the best I can and help my team win.

Best of luck, LB, in that new role you are so well-informed about.

He was ready for a change and the change came. Now, he'll find out if the snow is really greener in Toronto.

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For Tukoglu And The Suns, The Nash Chemistry Is Key

I'll admit to not being a big Hedo Turkoglu fan over the years. He did a lot of things well and clearly is a unique player, but for some reason I just didn't "click" with him as a remote observer of his game.

Last summer when he turned down Portland's overtures to take a slightly bigger deal in a more "cosmopolitan" city - loved by his wife Banu in part because it was five hours closer to Turkey - my reaction was good riddance; Toronto overpaid for him.

Hedo - by all accounts, including his own - came to his first season with the Raptors unprepared for the season and things went downhill from there. By the time his first year north of the border was complete, the fans and media and team were thrilled to see him go and the felling was mutual. Hedo wanted out. Toronto wanted him out.

This is from the Raptors.com senior writer, Mike Ulmer.

You were supposed to be a spicy wing player who could devour clunky defences. You turned out to be a chunky player who devoured spicy wings.

Could you image the Suns organization ever allowing its web site to trash a player like this? Not a chance.

In walks the Suns, who missed out on bringing Hedo to play with Steve Nash in 2004, and have loved him ever since.

Perhaps Coach Gentry is a bit misty-eyed, like the once-scorned lover, but he made it quite clear how much Hedo passion he still has, "He's one of those players who can keep us at the level we were at last year."

Alvin is setting the bar high and talking up Turkoglu's versatility, "I think he will play multiple positions. Two, three, four and maybe even some five. Whatever you need at the time, you can plug him in and he'll get it done for you." 

Hedo said his about his varied role, "I really don't mind as long as I'm out there trying to do my best. Not just my scoring, but things I'm really good at like being facilitator."

You expect some of this at introductory press conferences, but with Alvin, you typically don't get too much spin. He'll say what he means or he won't say anything at all.

Talking about defense is where Gentry's words start to get a bit more shaky, when he played up how Hedo will help on that end of the floor, "He's a super intelligent player, as far as angles, and defensively, I think he can add something to the mix in that department, also."

Not the second coming of Shawn Marion, but not a complete defensive disaster, either.

Keeping Hedo Happy

It all seems to come down to motivation and keeping Hedo happy.

When asked about his time in Toronto, Hedo didn't want to spend too much time dwelling on the past, "Last year was last year. I put that behind. Right now, it's a new page for me. A new beginning. A new start for everything. I'm just excited about it."

What Turkoglu would say echoed what his former agent and new boss said yesterday, "I guess the chemistry wasn't there for both sides and I guess I really (wasn't) used how I am really capable of doing stuff on the court."

Why will it be different with the Suns?

We don't know that and we won't know until we see it on the court next season. We don't know how the Suns will adjust to him and we don't know if being asked to facilitate the ball so Nash can take advantage of his shooting prowess will really pan out.

Nash is known for being an unselfish player and Hedo certainly sees himself the same way. But both of these guys ideas about being unselfish involve having the ball and creating shots for teammates. In the world of the NBA, passing is seen as unselfish, but for two guys who grew up soccer fans and players, the key isn't who scores the ball, it's who has the ball.

We'll see how much sharing of the load Nash really is willing to do, especially in crunch time. He eventually came to trust Dragic more and more and didn't mind sitting on the bench when his young protege was playing well in the fourth quarter, but that took time and Goran, as the new kid, understood the process. He knew he had to prove himself worthy of the master's trust. How patient will a 31-year-old Hedo be?

That dynamic between Hedo and Nash will be key. The guy who loves his pre-game pizza and the guy who famously doesn't eat any sugar at all and got the entire team to switch to organic health food for their catering - they are an odd couple, for sure.

All the smiles aside, these are two alpha males who will want the ball in their hands in crunch time. We saw it fail with Nash when Shaq came to town and if the Hedo experiment doesn't work, this will likely be the reason why.

But for now, everyone is all smiles and positive thinking. Coach Gentry and his new boss Lon Babby understand how to keep big egos happy and Nash is still Nash.

"I will come back here and work my butt off and try and raise my level again like it was a couple of years ago," Hedo said. "This is my job and I love what I'm doing."

He wants to prove that he's the unselfish team guy who had great chemistry with his teammates in Orlando and Sacramento. He wants to prove that the bad relationship in Toronto was a fluke and not an indictment. He will be motivated to make it work.

Let's hope it does.

Pizza Pizza, etc.

As for the most important Hedo question, I asked him if he's found a source for his pizza habit, "Not yet. Not yet. I'll have time."

Hedo will wear No.19 for the Suns, a number most recently worn by Raja Bell. Turkoglu said he changed his uniform number as part of his fresh start.

Hedo will be the captain for the Turkish National Team during the World Championships next month, which will be held in Turkey. He's very excited about that and hopes he can at least medal in what he said will be his last time playing for his country.

The gall baldder issue first came up in 2004 when he had problems with reflux. He had a large gall stone at the time, which got smaller and broke up until it got to where it posed a potential hazard. The surgery was preventative and he's feeling great. He looked tanned and a bit thinner perhaps than I remembered.

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Exclusive Interview: Todd Quinter Discusses New Suns Players Turkoglu And Childress

The Phoenix Suns' director of player personnel, Todd Quinter, sat in the stands with SB Nation Arizona during a Summer League game between the Knicks and Raptors. Quinter has been with the Suns organization since 1986.

Quinter started as a video coordinator and has moved up through the scouting ranks. With the recent departure of Steve Kerr and David Griffin, he's played an important role shaping the future of the team, working alongside head coach Alvin Gentry and the team's owner, Robert Sarver.

Q. Talk about Josh Childress, his role on the team and what he brings and what you might expect from him this year:

"I think Josh... what he brings to the table is a great guy off the bench. He'll complement all the guys on the second unit. He fits in really well; he can play the two or the three position and he'll be called upon on in defensive situations against some of the best perimeter players.

"He's a guy who's Shawn Marion-like in that he does not need the ball to score. He'll go get his own points off offensive rebounds or slashing in the lane.

"I think his 3-point shooting, which has always been a little bit of question -- in fact, his shot is flat out ugly -- but hopefully he'll come on his shot. Most guys who come to us really seem to improve their shooting. I think that will come along, as well.

"His role this year will be part of a large group of guys who will all have a role in what we do and as the years go by, we look for him to be one of our main guys."

Q. Is Josh a guy who can guard quick point guards like Andre Miller or Russel Westbrook?

"Andre Miller maybe. Because of his size and length, he'll be able to do that. The quicker point guards... I think he can give it a try. Guys like Westbrook, maybe Chris Paul, might give him a little problem. Against some of the other point guards, I think he's definitely a very good option for us."

Q. With Goran, Josh, Jared, Grant and maybe Earl, this could be one of the best perimeter defensive units this team has seen in a long time. Do you agree with that?

"I think the versatility was something we really, really liked about the group. We'll be able to play small at times and switch everything with all those guys involved. It's kind of exciting and will be fun to play that way. Alvin (Gentry) is the first to admit the way you get better defensively is to add defensive players and hopefully we're doing that."

Q. What kind of guy is Josh, what kind of leader and how's he going to fit in with this team?

"I think chemistry-wise, he's going to be ideal. He'll fit in really well with our guys. I don't think he's a verbal leader. His experience overseas brings a lot to the table... I think he learned a lot about his game and how life is and I think he'll bring that to the table. He is probably, as far as a person, very Grant Hill-like. He's a top of the line person and we like to have those kind of guys."

Q. Hedo Turkoglu had a lot of problems in Toronto with questions about motivation.

"It's interesting: to the man, the people that we talked to, especially from the Sacramento era and all his old coaches, they love the guy. I think he was just in a situation up there that went side-wise as a group and it wasn't just him. Their entire team had a bump in the road and I think he just got caught up in it.

"What he brings to us is very Boris-like when Boris (Diaw) was here, in that he handles the ball at the top in mismatches and at the elbow and he makes plays. He can take the pressure off Steve a little bit. Both he and Josh can handle the ball and make plays off the dribble and create, which is something that we love. I think they both fit in very well that way."

Q. Talk about Hedo's ability to defend and rebound at the power forward position.

"It's going to be a challenge for him for sure. Even last year, there were a lot of times with rebounding where we had our struggles.

"The one thing about last year was Jason Richardson, Grant Hill -- this year, I think Josh will help in that aspect -- they stepped up and became better rebounders and all crashed the boards to help us out.

"I think there'll be nights we'll struggle in that area, but they're also going to struggle on the other end trying to defend the guys. I think there's a give and take there.

"I'd be lying to you if I didn't think there weren't going to be nights when that's going to be a concern."

Q. Any thought to cutting back the minutes for Grant Hill and Steve Nash?

"Steve... we've been thinking about cutting back his minutes since he's got here and that hasn't really happened.

"As long as those guys perform the way they do, it's very hard to take players like them out of the game and at the same time, in a perfect world, you'd like to cut their minutes and make sure that they stay healthy all year long. We'll see how it goes."

Q. How's Earl Clark progressing?

"I think Earl's biggest hurdle is similar to Jason Richardson's in that they are most comfortable with the ball and creating for themselves. It took Jason a little bit to get used to the way we play and I think Earl is the same way.

"Once he figures out how to keep the ball moving and, when he goes to the basket, to go quickly and strong, and move the ball and set pick and rolls. His length and defense is a real plus. We still really have a great feeling (about) what he can do in the future."

Q. Talk about the guys further down the roster like Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins and do you think you might carry more than 13 players on the roster?

"We talked about that. That's something we are still considering as far as how many people we're going to carry and when the new GM or the new President is hired, whoever that might be, that might be a good question for them. I think we prefer to wait for those guys to come and have some influence in what we're going to do and help us make the final decision on that.

"Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins -- I would love to see those guys battle in camp because they both play hard and they are both physical and they both bring a presence to our team that I think is going to be a real positive."

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Hedo Turkoglu Has Gallbladder Surgery, Turkish Media Reports

According to a report in the Turkish media on July 10, Hedo Turkoglu underwent gallbladder surgery while in Turkey.

Here's a translation of Turkoglu's quote via Real GM:

The doctors advised me to undergo surgery on my gallbladder so I won't have any problems in the future. So we made an according decision. The doctors wanted to get any suspicions on when some sort of discomfort might occur out of the way. So we decided to put that risk out of the way. I believe I will be able to join the national team in a short while. My return after the surgery will be in 3-4 days. Because of that the doctors wanted to perform this surgery right away.

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Suns Officially Snag Josh Childress From Hawks

The Phoenix Suns have officially acquired former Atlanta Hawks guard/forward Josh Childress. Here is the full press release from Suns.com:

The Phoenix Suns today acquired swingman Josh Childress in a sign-and-trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks, the club has announced. In exchange, Atlanta receives the Suns' 2012 second-round draft pick. Childress has signed a five-year contract.

"Josh is a tremendous athlete who can play multiple positions," said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "We think he is going to be a great perimeter defender who can bring a lot on the offensive end as well with his ability to slash. Josh will add a lot to our team because he is so multitalented."

The Suns' agreement with the 6-8, 210-pound swingman means Childress will return to the NBA in 2010-11 after spending the last two seasons with Greek club Olympiacos, the most successful basketball franchise in Greece and a traditional European powerhouse, where he signed following the 2007-08 NBA season. Most recently, Childress led Olympiacos to a 23-3 record in Greek League play in 2009-10 and a berth in the Greek League Finals. Childress averaged a team-leading 15.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in Greek League action last season and also posted 15.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in Euroleague play.

The 27-year-old Childress owns four years of NBA experience, all with the Hawks, and career averages of 11.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 31.3 minutes in 285 games (67 starts). He is a career 52.2-percent shooter from the field, including 36.0 percent from three-point range, who has averaged double-digit scoring in all four of his NBA campaigns.

Childress last played in the NBA in 2007-08 when he was the top reserve on an upstart Atlanta Hawks team that ended an eight-year playoff drought and pushed the eventual NBA Champion Boston Celtics to seven games in their opening round series. That season, he averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 29.9 minutes in 76 games, all off the bench, while shooting an impressive 57.1 percent from the field.

Originally selected by the Hawks with the sixth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Childress was a three-year performer at Stanford where he became the first Pac-10 Player of the Year in school history in 2003-04. Childress led the school to three NCAA tournament appearances and the 2003-04 Pac-10 title.

 

 


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Addressing Concerns About Hedo Turkoglu

Reaction to news that the Suns traded Leandro Barbosa for Hedo Turkoglu has been mixed among fans.

A poll at Suns blog Bright Side of the Sun has 42 percent of the 2000-plus respondents liking both the Childress and Turkoglu deals, while 44 percent liked Childress, but have concerns about Hedo.

Talking to NBA observers from both Arizona and those who followed Hedo in Orlando and Toronto, the concerns center around his poor attitude in Toronto and his ability to defend and rebound if the Suns play him at the power forward position.

It is certainly worrying when a guy who was a key contributor on the 2008 Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic goes to the Raptors with huge fanfare only to become persona-non-grata after only one season. The nice folks north of the border were thrilled at news that Hedo and his remaining contract were headed south.

The incident that galvanized fans' anger towards Hedo happened in March 2010 when he missed a game due to a stomach virus only to be seen in a night-club later that evening. Hedo had an explanation and described his frustration in an interview with a Turkish TV station, which was translated by Canadian sports outlet, The Score. It's worth a read.

Regardless of this late-season incident, Hedo didn't fit in well with the Raptors system and the way he handled the situation sullied his reputation.

The Suns, according to sources, feel that one poor year should not be used as the gauge of Turkoglu's entire career. In Orlando, he was able to play up to his full potential as a play-maker, while with the Raptors he was asked to play a much more limited role that he felt insulted his skills.

Hedo demonstrated his desire to come to Phoenix when he waived $5 million of his trade-kicker and agreed to reduce by half the amount of guaranteed money in the final year of his contract. He essentially gave up $10 million to come to the Suns.

The belief is that is evidence of his motivation to play for the Suns in a system where he can be the secondary ball handler for a coach and system that is known for getting the most out of its players, as opposed to limiting their potential.

With Hedo motivated and back to playing up to his full potential, the Suns expect that he can rack up assists as he moves the ball and creates scoring opportunities for his teammates.

This mindset where players become frustrated when they are in roles that don't maximize their skills isn't uncommon. Boris Diaw had similar issues when he was asked to come off the bench in a limited capacity after having an outstanding season as a starter in 2005/06 when Amare Stoudemire was injured. Rudy Fernandez is rumored to have similar frustrations with the Trail Blazers.

In the right situation -- which Phoenix hopes it can provide -- Hedo is expected to return to his performance levels with the Magic when he averaged 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and five assists in the 2007-08 season.

The second concern is rebounding and defense.

Hedo has typically played the small forward position, where he has at times struggled defending quicker players. The Suns hope that at power forward, he can use his size and intelligence to hold his own. The team also feels that with Hedo, Grant Hill and Jason Richardson, they can switch a lot of screens.

Rebounding will have to be done by committee, with Grant Hill and Jason Richardson continuing to pick up some of the slack as they did last season when Amare and Channing Frye were on the floor together. The Suns won't be a better rebounding team with Hedo replacing Amare at power forward, but with improvement from Robin Lopez and an active Turkoglu keeping his own man off the glass, the team might not be worse.

It should be noted that when he was with Orlando in a good situation, Hedo was known for his effort on the defensive end of the floor. What he lacked in speed and athleticism he made up for with an extremely high basketball IQ.

Turkoglu is coming off a very frustrating situation in Toronto where, according to the interview with Turkish TV, he felt that he was treated unfairly by the team. He should have a chip on his shoulder to prove that he can return to form and with the Suns will be playing with and for Steve Nash and Alvin Gentry, who are known for flexibility and creativity and maximizing a player's potential.

That could be a recipe for success for Hedo in Phoenix.

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Analysis: Hedo Turkoglu And Josh Childress To Suns

So much for sitting back and waiting to see what opportunities might become available at the trade deadline or next summer.

The Suns shocked the known world today by trading Leandro Barbosa to the Toronto Raptors for Hedo Turkoglu while also acquiring 6-foot-8 swingman Josh Childress from the Hawks in a sign-and-trade that only cost the Suns a future second-round pick. The contract of Dwayne Jones was reportedly also included in the deal with the Raptors, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, who first broke the news.

That's the deal(s). Now, let's take a deep breath and over-react with some initial thoughts and analysis.

The On-Court Impact

This will be interesting to say the least, and anything I am about to write is snap-reaction and will likely change through training camp and the preseason.

The Rotation

According to Coro's report, Hedo will start for the Suns at the power forward position, which pushes Hakim Warrick to the bench, where he's played most of his career. We can also assume that Robin Lopez would start at center with Channing Frye backing him up. Behind those four players would be Earl Clark and perhaps Gani Lawal or even Dwayne Collins if he impresses in training camp.

At the small forward, the Suns would certainly continue to start Grant Hill, but perhaps try and limit his minutes to about 20 or 25 per game. Jared Dudley would back him up, along with Earl Clark and Josh Childress.

One would imagine that Childress would split time in the small forward rotation and could also play behind Jason Richardson at shooting guard. It should be noted that J-Rich only has one year left on his contract.

Having Josh under contract for the next five years could make Jason more expendable and perhaps the kind of trade piece that could be used down the road to acquire a big name player should one become available.

Front Court Rebounding and Defense

The immediate concern with a front line that would start Hedo as a stretch four next to Robin Lopez is rebounding. Turkoglu has almost always played the small forward position during this career. He's averaged only 4.3 rebounds per game over his 10-year career.

While he is 6-foot-10, he's is not a particularly big and strong player, so it is hard to imagine how he will fare against the likes of Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin or Dirk Nowitzki.

SB Nation's Orlando Magic blogger Evan Dunlap has plenty of experience watching Hedo and had this to say in response to my e-mailed question about Hedo's potential to defend and rebound the power forward position.

I'm inclined to think that Turk would get killed at PF on defense, because he's not particularly strong. But watching him in Orlando, he's actually not terrible. He's smart. Knows where to send his guy, knows what to take away. And he's not a guy who takes plays off defensively...But he may pleasantly surprise you on defense. 

But as a rebounder? Forget it. He's one of the worst rebounders at his size in NBA history. He'll get you the occasional 8-board game, but in no way is he a glass eater, especially not when he leaks out in transition and calls for the ball so he can run the break.
With Hedo at the four, Robin will be asked to take on a lot of responsibility in the paint and the Suns wings will have to attack the glass. Fortunately, both things were true last season as well and it worked out pretty well in those 31 games that Lopez started

When Lopez is off the floor, the Suns will be hard-pressed to play Frye and Hedo together on the front line. Unfortunately, Hakim Warrick is also an undersized power forward who's only averaged 7.4 rebounds per 36 minutes, which is 2 fewer than Amare Stoudemire.

While rookies Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins might develop into solid defensive and rebounding options at the power forward position, it is unreasonable to assume they will contribute much in their first year in the league. It takes players time to adapt and learn how to defend at the NBA level.

So basically, of the Suns' top four front line rotation players, there is only one big, powerful defensive player and then three other guys who will be smaller and less physical than much of the competition they face. Unless another move is made, this will be the Suns biggest weakness going into the season.

Perimeter Defense

The good news is that Childress will provide a fantastic defensive presence on the perimeter. If Grant Hill should go down to injury (he is 38 years old), then Josh can step into the starting line-up. Otherwise, he can provide a fantastic option backing up Jason Richardson at shooting guard and sharing time with Jared Dudley at small forward. 

Grant Hill only has one year left on his contract, so it is entirely feasible that down the road Hedo will move back to his natural small forward position if the Suns can find a good option at power forward.

With these moves, Earl Clark will once again be fighting for minutes. If he can develop as the Suns hope, he adds yet another defensive option for big skilled players like Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki. The jury is still out on Clark, though, and certainly he will take time to reach his potential.

It should also be noted that Jared Dudley becomes a restricted free agent after this season.

Overall, the combination of Hill, Dudley, Childress, Dragic and perhaps Clark will give the Suns solid defensive options on the perimeter. In fact, this has the potential to be the best perimeter defensive unit that Suns have fielded in a long time.

Offensive Options

Where Hedo excels is on the offensive end of the floor. He is a creative ball-handler who somehow manages to make the most of his less-than-stellar athleticism to manufacture opportunities for himself and others. In his final two years in Orlando, he averaged over five assists per game.

Hedo is very much a point-forward who can assume some of those responsibilities when Hill moves on and is a fantastic pick-and-roll player, but unlike Amar'e Stoudemire -- who was the roll man -- Hedo acts as the ball handler. Teams are not used to having to defend that kind of play from a big man. Imagine trying to defend a Hedo/Robin or Hedo/Warrick pick-and-roll?

Hedo is a career .383 3-point shooter who is known for his ability to hit big shots. Playing the power forward, he will draw one big man out of the paint which creates driving lanes for other players or even space for Robin Lopez to work in the post (assuming his post game continues to develop).

Because of his versatility, the Suns can move him to the small forward and play Robin Lopez, Channing Frye and Hedo together which could be deadly when combined with slashers like Jason Richardson, Goran Dragic and Josh Childress.

These are huge changes and you can expect the Suns will take some time to figure out how to get the most out of Hedo and Josh on the offensive end of the floor.

The Money

Childress' Money

The contract that Childress reportedly agreed to is $33 million over five years, which, in the scheme of such things, seems fair for a player of Josh's talents. A $6.6 million average for a guy who can play for the shooting guard and small forward and is known as an excellent perimeter defender who can also shoot the ball pretty well.

The Suns will reportedly use a portion of their trade exception to get Childress. After this transaction, they should still have about $6 million in trade exception left to use elsewhere.

Turkoglu's Money

Turkoglu was one of the more coveted free agents last summer when he turned down an offer from the Portland Trail Blazers to take a five year, $52.8 million deal from the Raptors. He is set to make $9.8 million this season with annual increases taking his salary to $12 million in the final year of the deal (2012/13).

According to the respected web site Sham Sports, Hedo's deal includes a 15 percent trade kicker and the final year of the deal has an early termination clause. Trade kickers can generally be waived by the player and considering that he asked to be traded, one can imagine it will be here. Hedo, who's real name is Hidayet, is 31 years old, meaning he will be 35 in his final year of that contract.

Barbosa's Contract

Leandro Barbosa will make $7.1 million this season and has a player option for the following season for $7.6 million. Dwayne Jones' non-guaranteed contract is for just under $1 million for next season.

Netting it Out

In these two contracts, the Suns are taking on $73.8 million in new contract obligations while giving up $14.7 million owed Barbosa. That's a net of $59.1 million in long-term salary. Add to that Channing Frye's $30 million and Hakim Warrick's $18 million and the Suns' "cheap" owner has spent $110.1 million since July 1.

I don't even begin to know how to react to that.

For this coming season, the Suns will have roughly $61 million in total salary, which is still $8 million under the luxury tax line. That includes 11 players under contract and does not include Taylor Griffin, Gani Lawal, Dwayne Collins or anyone else the team might want to bring in. The Suns can easily sign three or four of those minimum salary guys for about $500,000 each or they can sign a player at the veterans' minimum and still be well under the tax line. I would expect them to find an inexpensive point guard to add to the roster, as well, to provide depth there.

Initial Reaction

The Josh Childress deal is fantastic. He's a dynamic player who's been coveted by many teams and, at 27 years old, is coming into his prime. To get him for only a second-round pick is a steal. He provides depth at two positions that both happen to be occupied by guys (Hill and Richardson) who have only one year left on their contracts. Childress is a player who can and should start for an NBA team, unlike a role player like Jared Dudley, who is best in a reserve role.

Childress will make the Suns better defensively and, if he can improve his 3-point shooting from his career average of .360, then he can fit nicely with the Suns as a spot-up shooter. His .522 overall field goal shooting in four years with the Atlanta Hawks is the sign of a highly efficient offensive player, which is exactly what the Suns covet.

A+ for pulling off this deal.

Hedo Turkuglo is going to take some more convincing. He's a unique player, but as stated above, will likely struggle defensively at the power forward and create even more problems on the defensive glass.

If he eventually moves back to small forward when Hill retires and the Suns find a better option to start at the four, then that will probably make more sense. In the meantime, there are concerns over a guy who chose as a free agent to go to Toronto and then asked to be traded after only one season. A friend of mine who covered the Raptors this season responded with "good luck" when I asked if he was a good guy.

At 31 years old, with four years left on his contract, this is a much bigger risk. I can't help but think of another 6-foot-10 foreign player (Peja Stojakovic) who signed a long-term deal with the Hornets that has turned into a giant drain on their team. That's the worst-case scenario. Of course, with news that the Suns' head trainer Aaron Nelson has also re-signed with the Suns for four more years, we can hope that the healing magic continues and Hedo remains productive.

Trading Leandro Barbosa is a wise move. His time here had run its course and with the development of Goran Dragic, his services became redundant. He is a great teammate and fantastic person and for those reasons will be missed, but losing him isn't a big blow to the team's on-court potential.

There's a lot of unanswered questions with Hedo and this deal could go either way. It could prove to be a fantastic move if he stays healthy and plays well or it could certainly be a bust.

I am giving this deal a C.

Once again, the Suns prove to be a team willing to make moves and shake things up. There's never a dull moment and if nothing else, there will be plenty to talk about when the team takes the court in October.

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