Evan Turner says the Celtics want him to return next season

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With the NBA Draft and free agency just around the corner, attentions are naturally turning to the next big moves around the league. Who will be the number one pick? Where will Kevin Durant, amongst others, lay their hat this summer?

However, retaining players can be equally important for the 30 franchises that comprise the NBA. Bird Rights, team options and player options all have a profound effect on the destiny of available players.

Everybody knows that the likes of LeBron James, Hassan Whiteside and DeMar DeRozan will join Durant in making a huge decision this summer, but what about the likes of Boston Celtics swingman Evan Turner?

The second pick in the 2010 draft will be the Celtics' only true unrestricted free agent this summer, but the team's limited rights, and Turner's attractive form over the past two years, it seems as though circumstance is conspiring against the 27-year-old staying in Boston.

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Turner was drafted ahead of Whiteside, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins six years ago, but he struggled to break out until his final year in Philadelphia. Following a trade to Indiana with free agency pending, Turner eventually made his way to Boston in 2014.

The Chicago-born star has become a pivotal role player in Brad Stevens' young and well-drilled Celtics unit over the past two years, and it appears as though, despite the high chance Turner could command bigger bucks on the open market, Boston haven't given up hope they can persuade Turner to stay.

Turner told CSN at a fundraising event for Horizons for Homeless that this is the first time an organisation has made it clear they'd like him to stay.

"Hopefully we can figure out a way to make it work," Turner said. "It’s a lot going on with the team, with the roster, the draft picks, and things like that. ... [Celtics brass and Turner] didn’t have any surefire talks about [a return], but there’s definitely admiration on both sides. I trust that [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] is going to do what’s best for the organisation."

Pressed on whether he'd consider a hometown discount, Turner added, "Of course. I joke with people, this is the first time I left an exit meeting and the team wanted me back."

Turner averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists during the 2015-16 season and finished fifth in the voting for Sixth Man of the Year award, which Jamal Crawford of the L.A. Clippers won.

As mentioned earlier, Boston holds Early Bird rights with Turner and can only offer him a contract that starts at around $6 million. There's little doubt that Turner's ball-handling skills, vision on the court and volume from the bench could command more than that once some other big names make up their mind this summer.

Would the Celtics really want to eat much more into their cap space than that $6 million?

Eastern Conference
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Isaiah Thomas
Evan Turner

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