BOSTON – The playoffs haven’t necessarily been a coming out of sorts for Evan Turner.
More than anything it has validated the mostly positives he has brought to the floor with a high level of consistency since joining the Boston Celtics.
And it is adding up to a body of work that should pay off – literally – for Turner this summer when he hits the free agent market and in all likelihood commands an eight-figure salary.
Sticker shock may be the initial reaction for many when they think of Turner hauling in $10 million or more per season.
To put that in perspective, take a look at these players who are averaging between $9-11 million per season.
· Lance Stephenson - $9 million
· Iman Shumpert - $8.98 million
· Danny Green - $10 million
· Tyreke Evans -- $10.7 million
And the NBA’s new TV deal which will kick in this summer, will make eight-figure deals a lot more commonplace and maybe more significant, won’t have as huge an impact on team’s respective salary caps because of the overall cap growth.
Boston has a decent amount of players who will either be unrestricted free agents this summer like Turner, restricted free agents (Boston can match any offer they receive) like Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller, or potential unrestricted free agents like Amir Johnson whose two-year, $24 million contract includes a team option on the second season.
All have drawn varying levels of interest from NBA executives during the season.
But Turner has been the one Celtic that league sources have told CSNNE.com would be the best fit for any team.
“You hear players talk all the time about doing whatever it takes to win, but he’s doing it,” one executive told CSNNE.com. “Start, come off the bench, play a few minutes, play a lot of minutes. He’s done everything they’ve asked him to do and from what I hear, hasn’t grumbled a day about it. Every team needs a guy like that in their locker room.”
Turner hasn’t disappointed, scoring in double digits all five games thus far – the only Celtics player to do so.
But more than the scoring on the court, Turner is also scoring points in the eyes of NBA execs with the impact he has made on the Celtics winning games – a huge intangible that might separate him from some other second-tier free agents not named Kevin Durant.
“If you’re looking for him to come in and put X-amount of points and X-amount of assists per game and shot this or that from the field, he’s probably not your guy,” another league executive texted CSNNE.com recently. “He helps you win games. That’s probably his greatest strength.”
Boston knows this better than anyone, which is why you will often find him on the floor down the stretch in close games, regardless of how he has shot the ball previously.
He is one of Brad Stevens’ favorite players, which is among the many reasons why the Celtics want to re-sign him to a multi-year deal in the offseason.
And Turner has made no secret that if it were a perfect world he would be back in Boston next fall.
But it’s not a perfect world; it’s a business.
And the business side of things will come into play at some point and potentially force him to wrestle between taking the most money or remaining with the team that gave him the best opportunity basketball-wise and do so at less than market value.
Turner has said on multiple occasions that his focus this season has been to do all that he can to help the Celtics go as deep into the postseason as possible.
Now that the season is potentially nearing an end, Turner’s focus hasn’t changed one bit.
“I’ll think about that stuff when it’s time to think about it this summer,” Turner told CSNNE.com. “Winning games, that’s all I care about, that’s all I want to do now.”