BOSTON – Evan Turner has enjoyed his two seasons with the Boston Celtics, a time that has seen Turner morph from a perceived lottery-pick bust into one of the best sixth Men in the NBA whose versatility and all-around skillset has been instrumental in the Celtics putting together back-to-back playoff appearances.
And while he will have several suitors this summer when he hits the free agency market, Turner said he is open to the idea of leaving some money on the table and re-sign with the Boston Celtics.
When asked if he would be open to giving the Celtics a “hometown discount,” Turner said, “Of course. I joke with people, this is the first time I left an exit interview and the team wanted me back. I don’t take that lightly, you know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, I’m grateful for that.”
Turner said his exit interview with Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, was a candid conversation about Boston’s goals and aspirations this summer.
“He (Ainge) was honest,” Turner told CSN following a fundraising event for Horizons for Homeless held on Sunday. “Hopefully we can figure out a way to make it work. It’s a lot going on with the team, with the roster and with the draft picks and things like that. There’s definitely admiration on both sides. I trust Danny will do what’s best for the organization.”
In his two seasons in Boston, Turner has become a favorite among fans as well as a hit with the media.
But more important, he has gained the trust of head coach Brad Stevens who trusts the 27-year-old as much as any Celtic especially in the fourth quarter.
Turner, who finished fifth in the voting for the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, led all reserves with 118 assists in the fourth quarter which also ranked fifth among all players.
Having been drafted by Philadelphia with the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, Turner began his career dealing with the enormous weight and expectations that come with being a high draft pick. Ironically, Turner’s best season statistically led to him being traded to Indiana in 2014 which turned out to be a bad fit for Turner and the Pacers.
And the fact that he was hitting the free agent market the summer of 2014 led to him paying for it with few teams showing sincere interest in signing him and even fewer willing to give him the kind of contract a former No. 2 pick receives in his first contract after he’s no longer on the rookie scale. So Turner wound up settling on a two-year, $6.7 million deal with the Celtics.
Rest assured, the deal he signs this summer will pay more than that in the first year.
There will be several teams like the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic in hot pursuit of Turner this summer because of his versatility and as one league executive told CSNNE.com recently, “the way he impacts winning.”
The executive added, “He doesn’t put up big numbers, but he’ll help you win big games.”
And if Turner has his way, he’ll continue doing that “in a crazy sports town like Boston.”
Turner added, “To be able to have that type of support, I don’t take that lightly.”