The NBA doesn’t seriously investigate players swearing at fans. But get caught on video doing it? A fine quickly follows.
So, I’m not sure why Trail Blazers forward Evan Turner essentially turned himself in for cursing at a Portland heckler. But if the NBA fines him, Turner – who signed a four-year, $70 million contract in 2016 – can afford it.
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.
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.’’
There are two ways of looking at this:
1. Turner earned the contract because he convinced a team to give it to him. That’s demonstrably true.
2. Turner is earning the contract because his production is commensurate with his salary. That’s almost certainly false.
Turner is a subpar shooter, making just 32% of his 3-pointers and 48% of his 2-pointers while still being highly selective in his shot selection. He has a higher turnover percentage than assist percentage. He’s merely a fine defender, at best.
By real plus-minus, Turner ranks 442nd of 502 players.
That said, backlash to Turner’s contract has left him underrated in some ways. Just because he’s overpaid doesn’t mean he’s worthless. He still contributes plenty to Portland.
He’s a smart player and a good passer for his size. His versatility helps, especially defensively. Though he won’t lock anyone down, he can adequately defend multiple positions, making it easier for the Trail Blazers to switch and put other players in ideal matchups. His fun personality is welcome in the locker room.
“A lot of players get judged on their salary,’’ Davis said. “If he was making, let’s say 8 million a year, they would be like, ‘He’s the best player in the league’ … that’s just how life is. But I always tell him: That’s a good problem to have. I’d rather have someone talk (stuff) to me if I was making 17 million a year than 6 million a year. So that’s a good problem.’’