Toronto’s ethnic diversity has helped lure Turkish forward Hedo Turkoglu to the Raptors. The six-foot-10 free agent is expected to sign a five-year contract worth a reported US$53 million as early as Wednesday, after spurning the Portland Trail Blazers. Turkoglu’s agent Lon Babby said Turkoglu and his wife Banu, both from Istanbul, were intrigued by the city and what it had to offer. “At the end of the day, Hedo simply decided that Toronto was a better fit for him and his family,” Babby said. “He wants to remain in the East and Toronto is, of course, a uniquely cosmopolitan and international community and it suits him and his family best. The community level was just best in Toronto.” The 30-year-old Turkoglu, who helped Orlando to the NBA finals last season, appeared poised to sign with the Blazers, but ended contract talks with them Friday. “Toronto’s offer was better (financially) than Portland’s was, but that wasn’t the driver here,” Babby said. Under the rules of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the Raptors can’t comment on the deal until Wednesday, the date teams can officially sign free agents. He averaged 16.8 points and 5.3 rebounds last season.
Turkoglu is a nine-year veteran. He has also played for Sacramento and San Antonio.