Sources: Bobcats pull out of trade
The proposed three-way trade between the Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats sending Toronto's Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix is a two-team trade again, as the Bobcats have pulled out of the deal, according to NBA front-office sources.
After the Raptors and Suns agreed Sunday to a trade that would send Turkoglu to Phoenix, Charlotte agreed Monday to join the deal by sending Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler to Toronto in exchange for Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans.
Sources close to the situation said Tuesday that two main factors led the Bobcats to pull out: Calderon has a 10-percent trade bonus in his contract in addition to the $29 million remaining on the deal over the next three seasons; and Charlotte coach Larry Brown was never in favor of the trade.
Yahoo! Sports reported Monday night that Bobcats owner Michael Jordan had "second thoughts" about adding Chandler to the trade, after both Chandler and Evans said publicly that they had been informed by their respective teams that the deal was going through.
The National Post in Canada, quoting "a source with knowledge of the trade," reported Tuesday on its website that the deal was "likely dead" but said the source had "not given up hope that the deal could be revived."
The original transaction called for the Raptors to acquire Leandro Barbosa and one other low-dollar contract in exchange for Turkoglu, who has grown disgruntled in Toronto. That was the first step of the Suns' two-trade plan to fill the void created by the free-agent departure of Amare Stoudemire, with the Suns also agreeing to a sign-and-trade with Atlanta for former Hawks swingman Josh Childress.
It was not immediately known how the Raptors intended to proceed if the deal for Chandler and Diaw can't be revived, since they were counting on both players to claim the minutes left behind by Chris Bosh's free-agent exit to Miami.
Turkoglu wanted out of Toronto following a miserable debut season. It was the first year of a five-year, $53 million contract that Turkoglu received from the Raptors last summer after initially telling the Portland Trail Blazers that he'd sign with them.
The 10-year NBA veteran averaged 11.3 points last season on 40.9 percent shooting, his lowest scoring average and shooting percentage in six years. As recently as the 2007-08 season, Turkoglu won the NBA's Most Improved Player award by averaging 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists with Orlando, then helped the Magic reach the NBA Finals in 2009 by averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists.
The proposed deal would have reunited Barbosa and Diaw with Raptors president of basketball operatons Bryan Colangelo, who brought both players to Phoenix.
Chandler, meanwhile, had passed on the chance to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer after an injury-plagued debut season in Charlotte, following last summer's trade from New Orleans for Emeka Okafor.
Charlotte deemed Diaw, due $18 million over the next two seasons, expendable after giving Tyrus Thomas a five-year, $40 million deal. Thomas, who signed the contract on Monday amid rumblings of the trade, is expected to replace Diaw as Charlotte's new starting power forward.
Calderon averaged 10.3 points and 5.9 assists for the Raptors last season, but has long been regarded as a defensive liability, which is an area of emphasis for Brown.
The Suns' moves are intriguing for a variety of reasons. Turkoglu will serve as a very different starting power forward than Stoudemire, with ballhandling ability that could potentially lessen the wear-and-tear absorbed by Steve Nash in running the Suns' offense. But the trade also ensures that Phoenix will be even in smaller in the frontcourt than it was last season.
Turkoglu is also a current client and Childress is a former client of longtime player agent Lon Babby, who appears destined to replace Steve Kerr as the Suns' new head of basketball operations.
Suns owner Robert Sarver -- increasingly interested in succeeding Kerr with a revamped structure that includes non-traditional personnel voices as well as traditional basketball executives -- is giving Babby strong consideration to lead the Suns' revamped basketball department.
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Sunday that Babby's hiring has been agreed to in principle, with more hires to come to assist him.
According to the Arizona Republic, Turkoglu is waiving roughly $5 million of a trade bonus in his contract and reducing the guaranteed money in the final season -- which was worth $12 million in 2013-14 -- to facilitate his move to the Suns.
If Turkoglu starts, another recent Suns acquisition -- free-agent signee Hakim Warrick -- would likely join Childress, Channing Frye, Jared Dudley and Goran Dragic on Phoenix's second unit. In addition to Barbosa's departure, Phoenix is also expected to lose popular forward Louis Amundson this summer.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.
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