The summer of 2016 saw a number of NBA teams with a large amount of money to spend thanks in part to a television deal that helped the league get a dramatic salary cap increase. Over 20 teams had at least one max salary contract spot and organizations made moves that impacted their franchise for years to come. Some more positive than others but the players aren’t complaining about the money they received.
Evan Turner was one of those players who received a big contract in 2016 and his deal had a number of fans, primarily Portland Trail Blazers fans, scratching their heads. He received a four-year, $70 million deal from the Blazers which fans saw as a troubling move. The Blazers faithful only saw that he was getting paid more per year on average than Klay Thompson, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Draymond Green without having of the same accolades those same players have received through their career. Many didn’t consider the landscape of free agency that summer, what other players at his position were getting paid and what Evan could bring to the Blazers.
Even now as we approach the end of the second year in his deal, Blazers fans still let Turner hear it about his contract. The contract offered to him by the team these same fans root for. Turner, who is not shy about sharing his opinion on a number of topics, is fed up and he spoke out against those who criticize him, his stats and style of play.
Following comes from Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest.
There is a fan at Trail Blazers home games who takes great effort to heckle and chastise Evan Turner.
It reached a head a couple weeks ago, during a blowout win over Sacramento, when the heckler harped on the fact that Turner had only two points as the Blazers were closing out the Kings.
“Hey Evan! I see you got your typical two! Your typical two!’’’ Turner said, recreating the scene.
He shakes his head thinking back to it.
“All year … That’s what you call a true fan, huh?’’
Turner says he understands he might have to take some ribbing in the give-and-take of a fan-player relationship at a game. But the season-long chiding by this fan had, in Turner’s mind, become harassment.
So, late in that Sacramento game, Turner faced the “dumb redneck,” who sits three rows back from the court.
“When I turned around and cursed him out, he turned bright red,’’ Turner said chuckling.
That Turner stopped absorbing insults and dished back is indicative of where he is in his second year in Portland: comfortable enough in his role and his performance to no longer care what the outside noise is saying.
In telling the middle-aged heckler to “shut the (expletive) up,” Turner might as well been speaking to all who still harp on his 4-year, $70 million contract.
“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.’’
“All I’m doing is what my coach asks,’’ Turner said. “I’m trying to help the team, truly and genuinely help the team. Because I’ve been on teams where I’m putting up 20, and nobody gave a damn because we were losing.’’
“He doesn’t get enough credit, but we know what he does, and that’s all that matters,’’ Maurice Harkless said motioning around the locker room.
“At the end of the day, winning matters,’’ Turner said. “Character matters. And what you are willing to sacrifice matters. I think my biggest steps and growth are being able to compartmentalize the things that really matter. I used to waste a lot of time worrying about things that don’t matter. Who gets credit and all that stuff … it doesn’t matter.’’