So far the Boston Celtics have had just a mild offseason, but with their full mid-level exception available, they decided to make a low-risk/medium-reward transaction by signing Evan Turner, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
Celtics finishing deal for FA Evan Turner, sources tell Herald. He will get a portion of their mid-level exception.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 21, 2014
What He Brings
Turner is a 6-foot-7 wing who will make an impact on a nightly basis because of his "do-it-all" style, whether it comes from his scoring, passing, defense, or rebounding. Even though he isn't great in any one area, he can have the occasional big nights.
When it comes to fitting him into Brad Stevens' motion offense, it should be interesting to see how he is used. For most of Turner's career, he has spent time playing with the ball in his hands, but his highest quality production has come from spot up shooting. Perhaps, taking the ball out of his hands will increase his efficiency, which has been quite low throughout his career.
On the other hand, Turner is a talented ball handler for his size, and quite a solid passer too. Maybe the Celtics can maximize his production by using him more in a "point forward" role that emphasizes on playmaking instead of shooting off the dribble. Either way, Turner has versatility on both ends of the floor, which is something that not many of the remaining free agents bring to the table.
The No. 2 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft has been labeled as a "bust" by some, but that is an unfair criticism. The 25-year-old is a lot better than he gets credit for, as most of the criticism of his time in Philadelphia seemed to be driven by the media, and it won't be long before he wins over skeptical Celtics fans, just like a similarly irrationality criticized Kris Humphries did last season.
Turner was a disaster in Indiana, but I'm willing to forgive his time there considering how poorly things turned out for everyone on that roster, not just for him. It is, however, worth noting that fans can't expect him to suddenly reach his potential. At this point in Turner's career, we know who he is, though I fully expect his efficiency to improve assuming he is given an appropriate role.
How Turner Changes Things
Boston is in limbo; they aren't in a position to make a huge trade to turn them into instant contenders, and there really isn't a realistic way for them to go all-in with the youth movement either. But one thing is for sure: Something is going to change.
With 18 players under contract, three of them on non-guaranteed deals, there has to be some deals in place to move some players. Both Keith Bogans and Chris Babb can be cut loose without losing any money, but it's also possible that Boston could look for a return on someone like Gerald Wallace (perhaps packaging one or two of their future first rounders in order to dump him).
Or even the recently acquired Marcus Thornton could be on his way out in a trade, once he is eligible. Even Jeff Green could be used in a deal to bring in younger asset for the retooling period. There are more moves to come, so stay tuned. The offseason is just getting started for the Boston Celtics.