NBA: Assessing what remains of the buyout market

NBA Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
NBA Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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NBA Atlanta Hawks
NBA Atlanta Hawks Evan Turner (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Evan Turner, Minnesota Timberwolves 

Does anybody want this guy? He’s now on his third team in the last calendar year. (You’re forgiven if you forgot about the Evan Turner era in Atlanta). Once upon a time, he was a steady bench contributor for a rock-solid Celtics playoff team. Even last year, he gave the Blazers some decent minutes here and there during their run to the Western Conference Finals.

But he’s only played in 19 games this year, struggling mightily. One of the reasons for Turner’s success in Boston, which earned him one of the worst contracts in the entire league, was coach Brad Stevens’ willingness to shape lineup combinations around his unique skill set. For his entire career, Turner has been an abhorrent 3-point shooter, only eclipsing 32 percent one time.

But the things he does well, at least theoretically – handling the ball, playing bully-ball against smaller guys and finding shooters and cutters – do still have value, provided the floor is spaced around him. In any successful team construct, Turner should operate as a backup point guard, one who can play with the starter while also controlling bench units, much like he did during his time in Portland.

On the other hand, it might just be over for Turner. It’s possible that he’s played in his last meaningful NBA game, a sad possibility to consider. The Timberwolves don’t appear too keen on giving him any minutes – they seem intent on letting their young guys learn and grow over the last two months of this season.

If Turner were to shake loose, a reunion with Stevens in Boston wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities. They have a pretty thin bench, with no real nominal backup point guard (sorry Brad Wanamaker), and, as we’ve noted, Turner knows the system and has had success there in the past.