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Contract Year Alert Down South

Granted, this particular player seems to have been doing plenty of good hard work over the last couple of seasons, but given the way the Association works sometimes, his production might just be primed to take another leap in 2008-09.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz:

[Hedo Turkoglu] said Tuesday that he likely will opt out of his contract after the season to become a free agent, signaling the end of his six-year, $39-million deal with the Magic.
"It does make sense (to opt out), actually," Turkoglu said, adding with a laugh, "I'd be one year younger."

"I would love to stay in Orlando . . . but this is a business. My business is to play my game. If you don't play your game, you can't get a deal anywhere. Hopefully, Orlando will agree and we will sign, but we'll wait and see. It's hard to tell if I'm staying or leaving."

Magic General Manager Otis Smith said the club "would like to keep Turk" and expects to have several conversations before the February trade deadline with Lon Babby, Turkoglu's agent.

Seems like a good idea for Smith to do just that.  Retaining guys who are very good basketball players is generally conducive to winning.

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Turkoglu has made great strides throughout his first four seasons in Orlando.  In 2007-08, he went for 19.5 points, 5.7 boards and 5.0 assists per game (all career highs) while putting up 57.6 percent true shooting, all of which helped earn him national recognition as the league's Most Improved Player.  Time and again, Turkoglu stepped up to hit big shots for the Magic, particularly from behind the arc, where he shot 40 percent for the year.  He was also often used as Orlando's primary ball-handler and playmaker at crunch time, and he seemed very comfortable in that role. 

The guy is a 6-foot-10 point forward who can do a little bit of everything.  He has bloomed late and is now coming into his own.  Probably wouldn't be a bad idea for the Magic to look to hang on to this gentleman.