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Turkoglu becoming free agent

HEDO TURKOGLUExercises option HEDO TURKOGLUExercises option (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Associated Press / June 16, 2009
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A day after his team was bounced from the NBA Finals by the Lakers, Magic shooting forward Hedo Turkoglu announced he is headed for free agency.

Turkoglu's agent, Lon Babby, told the Orlando Sentinel yesterday that his client will opt out of his contract and become a free agent in two weeks.

"It would make sense for him to opt out," Babby told the newspaper by phone. "I can't imagine a scenario in which he would not."

The first day players can officially declare for free agency is June 30.

The 6-foot-10-inch Turkoglu, who is entering the final year of a $36 million, six-year contract, is scheduled to make $7.3 million next season.

Babby told the Sentinel he intends to discuss the situation in the coming days with Orlando general manager Otis Smith.

"I think Hedo distinguished himself in this playoff run," the agent said. "He's in a different spot than he was before the playoffs began. He's a rare player, a unique player who helped take a team to the Finals. He's grateful for the opportunity he has been given. He's enjoyed his time in Orlando. It's a solid organization, a team on the rise.

"Hedo will weigh his options."

76ers guard Royal Ivey also declined his player option for the 2009-10 season and has become an unrestricted free agent.

Ivey played 71 games in his only season for the Sixers. He averaged 3.0 points and 1.1 rebounds and had 36 steals.

Harangody staying put
The deadline to withdraw from the draft was noon yesterday and Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody decided to return to school with the hope of becoming the all-time leading scorer for the Irish. Harangody needs 738 points next season to pass Austin Carr. Also pulling out of the June 25 draft are Connecticut freshman forward Ater Majok, whose name is linked to an NCAA investigation into possible recruiting violations at UConn, and Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal. Meanwhile, Kentucky's top scorer, guard Jodie Meeks, remained in consideration for the draft. Coach John Calipari posted on Twitter that Meeks called to let him know about the decision. Also leaving school for the draft is Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague and Gonzaga forward Austin Daye.

LA planning parade
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said the looting and vandalism that broke out in the aftermath of the Lakers' championship victory Sunday night won't keep the city from celebrating the team's triumph. City officials and the Lakers are footing the bill for a victory parade they hope will overshadow unrest the police chief blames on a mob of "knuckleheads." Police reviewed security video and media images to identify suspects who caused damage downtown the night before. Bratton, a former police commissioner in Boston, said many known gang members were in the crowd. "These knuckleheads seem to really relish their opportunity in the dark," Bratton said. A victory parade is being planned for today, and the Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers and the city will kick in $1 million apiece.

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