Many NBA teams are still paying, both literally and figuratively, for their actions during the summer of 2016, when the NBA’s salary camp skyrocketed and provided an opportunity for enormous paydays for those who timed their availability well.
Blazers swingman Evan Turner fit that bill perfectly, and as a result, he was rewarded with a four-year, $70 million contract that lured him to Portland after the best season of his career as a member of the Boston Celtics.
Since arriving in Portland, however, Turner has come under fire for not necessarily performing up to the level of a player with his salary. Though he certainly isn’t alone in that particular situation (say hello to Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and many others), Turner had a strong message for those who criticize him through the lens of his salary.
“First off, let me say one thing: Everything I have done, I have earned,’’ Turner said. “My contract – that’s my bread, and I earned my bread. So, kiss my ass. Dead serious. Write that. I earned that (expletive) money.’’
Turner’s statistical performance (10.5 PER, 50.2 percent true shooting, etc.) over nearly two seasons in Portland certainly does not live up to the high-dollar deal that he is currently playing under with the Blazers. However, the former Ohio State standout does have a point in that he earned the money through what the market provided, and of course, no one forced the organization to hand Turner the $70 million sum.
In short, Turner isn’t the first player to push back on the public notion that he isn’t “earning” his salary on a nightly basis, and in some ways, he has a point. The question of whether Turner is actually a positive contributor to the playoff-bound Blazers remains an open one, but even if the timing of his free agency was the biggest reason for his newfound wealth, Turner did nothing more than commit the basketball crime of accepting a hefty contract from a team that offered it.