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Toronto Raptors: Top Five Andrea Bargnani Trades

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Top 5 Andrea Bargnani Trades

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are rumored to be shopping Andrea Bargnani which means it’s time to take a look at what the team might be able to get for him.

The Raptors have gone on a five game win streak with the seven-footer out of the line-up, leaving many fans offering to drive him to the airport if a trade can reached.

Toronto has struggled this season and a lot of fingers are being pointed at Bargnani and his play to begin the year. After showing flashes of being a potential all-star before getting injured last season, Bargnani has failed to find the form he showed after last year's lockout ended.

At times he’s looked uninterested, out of shape and flat out pathetic with his efforts on the defensive end. For a player known for his offensive abilities, he’s struggled to shoot during the season and often had questionable shot selection. He routinely forces up unbalanced three-pointers with plenty of time remaining on the shot clock and the fan base has grown frustrated with his play.

Despite his poor performance, Raptors fans know the potential Bargnani possesses as he’s displayed it throughout his time in Toronto. One night his shooting stroke can be on fire with him looking like he can hit a jump shot from anywhere on the court. Another night he can show constant hustle on the defensive end using his length and quick feet for a big man to bother opponents.

Still, the only thing that appears consistent about Bargnani is his ability to be inconsistent. Fans have grown tired of his subpar performances, reaching the point they want General Manger Bryan Colangelo to trade him. Supporters of the team understand the franchise has a young nucleus with the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas and Ed Davis. They’d rather see that young nucleus be supported with pieces received from trading Bargnani than using the player as a part of the team’s future.

With that said, it’s time to take a look at the potential deals that could be used to ship Bargnani out of town. Assuming the former first overall pick still has a little bit of value on the trade market, here are the top five Andrea Bargnani trades.

Transactions have been approved by the ESPN Trade Machine, where player salaries have also been provided from.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

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5. Stephen Jackson

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To Toronto: Stephen Jackson (one-year, 10,059,750 remaining) Future First Round Pick

To San Antonio Spurs: Andrea Bargnani (three-year, 10,000,000 remaining),

Why Toronto Does It:

The ultimate salary dump and settle for little but the joy of getting him out of town move. The Raptors make the trade settling for little player value but walk away happy getting Bargnani’s contract off the books heading into next summer. Jackson comes in and adds to the revolving door known as Toronto’s small forward position but isn’t expected to contribute much given he’ll be 35 years-old in April. If he plays well, earning himself a contract for next year on another team, it’s a bonus since the deal is mainly for the cap room. The Raptors have already proven with their winning streak they don’t need Bargnani’s production to be successful, so if Captain Jack bombs in his time with Toronto it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Plus the general manager can say he has a first round pick, even though because it’s San Antonio's it’ll be nothing more than a glorified second rounder. Still, when Jackson walks away at the end of the year Colangelo can at least say the team got a first round pick and given his draft history it might not be such a bad thing to have.

Why San Antonio Does It:

At first glance it might not make sense why the Spurs would want to take on Bargnani’s contract, let alone Bargnani period. However, his three-year deal is the same length as Tim Duncan’s and Tony Parker’s contracts. With Manu Ginobili needing a contract extention at the end of this season, San Antonio could load up for another two year run with its core trio along with Bargnani. If things don’t work and Duncan heads into retirement, the Spurs would have plenty of cap room to begin the rebuild.

Gregg Popovich would also be the best thing to ever happen to Bargnani’s career. Given the coach’s experience with international players, if anyone could mold a game plan around the seven-footer’s strengths it’d be Popovich. Duncan would be left alone in one-on-one defense to ease the burden on the aging center, otherwise he’d make a quick pass out to the perimeter where Bargnani would burn the opponent with a three-pointer. Bargnani would also help space the floor for Parker and Ginobili to drive, while Kawhi Leonard helps make up for his lack of rebounding

Final Analysis

Both teams would be taking a risk but there are benefits for both sides. Bargnani’s contract isn’t outrageous if he’s producing and Raptors fans know this is the exact type of situation where he’d excel as a team’s third or fourth option. Duncan and Parker wouldn’t let him slack off on defense and while they received all the focus on the offensive end, Bargnani could quietly produce effective numbers.

Toronto on the other hand will have settled for far less value then they could have gotten elsewhere but use Jackson's expiring deal, and the extra cap room it provides, to build for next year. Jackson comes in for a cup of coffee and Colangelo looks to use the summer to add pieces around DeRozan, Davis, Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. With Calderon’s contract also coming off the books, the Raptors would have a decent amount of money to work with in the off-season to add to their young roster.

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4. Paul Millsap

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To Toronto: Paul Millsap (one-year, 8,603,633 remaining), Raja Bell (one-year, 3,480,000 remaining)

To Utah Jazz: Andrea Bargnani (three-year, 10,000,000 remaining), Terrence Ross (four-year, 2,563,320 remaining)

Why Toronto Does It:

Toronto tries to solidify its future frontcourt by acquiring Millsap to play alongside Valanciunas for years to come. The power forward continues to add to Toronto’s young nucleus to join Valanciunas, DeRozan, Lowry and Davis, while Bell comes in for a cup of coffee to help balance out salaries before being let go once his contract expires.

Why Utah Does It:

Acquiring another big in Bargnani might not make sense at first given they already have Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors. However, Bargnani could use his shooting range to make life easier on the inside for both players given he’s a much better shooter than Millsap. Jefferson and Favors can take turns on the floor together or have Bargnani stretching the defense to leave single coverage for either one of them on the inside . Meanwhile, the team gets much needed wing support with the addition of Ross. The rookie has far greater upside than Gordon Hayward and would already be an upgrade over Randy Foye.

Final Analysis

The Raptors get a quality power forward that would help take scoring pressure off DeRozan while forming a frontcourt filled with hustle and energy that features Millsap, Valanciunas, Davis and Amir Johnson. Toronto wouldn’t be a guaranteed playoff team after the trade but the young roster would be a big step closer. Meanwhile Utah replaces Millsap with a better scorer while potentially getting the team’s future starting shooting guard.

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3. Josh Smith

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To Toronto: Josh Smith (one-year, 13,200,000 remaining), Devin Harris (one-year, 8,500,000 remaining), Johan Petro (one-year, 3,500,000 remaining)

To Atlanta Hawks: Andrea Bargnani (three-year, 10,000,000 remaining), Jose Calderon (one-year, 10,561,982 remaining), Alan Anderson (one-year, 854,389 remaining), Terrence Ross (four-year, 2,563,230 remaining)

Why Toronto Does It:

The Raptors would instantly get their best perimeter player since Vince Carter if Smith suited up for the team. Colangelo would hope Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry couldn't find a way to re-sign Smith and before risking another franchise player walk-out in his career (he was the Cleveland Cavaliers GM during that whole “decision” thing), he trades the athletic swingman.

Toronto swaps Bargnani and Ross’ potential for Smith, while downgrading at point guard with Harris coming in exchange for Calderon. Anderson goes to help with Atlanta’s loss at the perimeter while Petro is a throw in to help the salaries balance out. The Raptors move forward with a starting-five of Smith, DeRozan, Lowry, Valanciunas and Davis, if they can convince the Hawks high-flyer to sign a contract extension. The team wouldn’t be a guarantee for the playoffs but if the frontcourt could continue to develop, while Smith and DeRozan learned to play off each other, the Raptors would be the strongest they've been in years.

Why Atlanta Does It:

It’d be a last case scenario for the Hawks but if they can’t come to an agreement on a contract extension with Smith, the package they’d get would keep them in the playoffs. Bargnani would help keep Al Horford in single coverage on offense and instantly form a difficult frontcourt to try and contain. With most of Horford’s production coming from in the paint, and the majority of Bargnani’s coming from everywhere else, the two could complement each other well with the attention defenses would have to give both of them .

Meanwhile, Calderon would help improve the team at point guard during their playoff run. With the way Jeff Teague has played in a contract year, Calderon wouldn’t be more than a rental but would still be an upgrade over Harris for the remainder of the season.

Ross would also help give Atlanta a potential future starter given his upside. With the Hawks losing an athletic player with the ability to throw down explosive dunks, they’d be gaining a player with similar abilities only younger and with a better shooting stroke.

Final Analysis:

The Raptors try to take advantage of a desperate Hawks team by taking their star player, but at the same time give them a package that’ll keep them competitive. Colangelo finally gets a quality small forward for the first time since Jorge Garbajosa while the Hawks rebuild their team with Horford and Bargnani in the frontcourt along with Ross’ upside. Harris back-ups Lowry until being let go at season’s end while Calderon gives Atlanta another option at point, and the chance to see if Teague is really worth what he’s going to ask for in the summer.

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2. Pau Gasol

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To Toronto: Pau Gasol (two-year, 19,000,000 remaining)

To Los Angeles Lakers: Andrea Bargnani (three-year 10,000,000 remaining), Jose Calderon (one-year, 10,562,982 remaining)

Why Toronto Does It:

It becomes a swap of Bargnani for Gasol in Colangelo’s mind as he likely has no intention of re-signing Calderon in the off-season. Lowry returns to being the team’s starting point guard while Gasol comes in and hopefully helps Valanciunas’ development before his contract expires. He likely wouldn’t be re-signed once his deal is up, but could still be a quality piece during his time with the Raptors. Toronto’s interior defense would instantly improve along with their post presence on the offensive end. The duo of Gasol and Valanciunas could have the potential to be one of the best frontcourts in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers' seven-footer would help give Toronto an inside-out combination with Gasol’s interior scoring along with DeRozan and Lowry’s perimeter production. When the two guards need to drive, the big man could also easily roll out and be available for a kickout mid-range jumper.

Why Los Angeles Does It:

If Mike D’Antoni is just going to make Gasol a shooter for the most part than Bargnani is instantly the better option for the team's offense. The Lakers will lose defense and rebounding but they’d gain a better shooter that could stretch the floor a lot more for Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash drives or to leave one on one coverage for Dwight Howard in the paint. If Ryan Anderson looked good playing next to Howard, Bargnani would look incredible. Plus, given the play of Jordan Hill recently, if the Lakers ever did need a stronger rebounder they could just make the substitution.

The most intriguing part of the deal from a Los Angeles perspective has to be the potential addition of Calderon. If Nash ever got hurt, they’d instantly have great insurance with the way Calderon can step in and play a similar game. The point guard would be a major upgrade over any other option they have on the roster and given D’Antoni’s system he’d be a perfect candidate to run it. Calderon would know his role, running around finding Bryant on the perimeter or Howard in the post while being able to shoot from anywhere on the floor if needed.

The Lakers could look at this as getting two players in one. It’s the ultimate insurance if anything happens to Nash along with a better player for their offensive scheme. They could let Calderon walk at the end of the year and still have Bargnani at half the price Gasol was costing them.

Final Analysis

Toronto gets a proven all-star post player while the Lakers get pieces that are a better fit for their team. Gasol is an unselfish player, so he’d fit right into the way the Raptors have been playing the team game as of late. Meanwhile, Calderon and Bargnani are also unselfish players and would know their role and pass the ball to Bryant. Depending on Howard’s health, if his back is fine he could also make up for Bargnani’s lack of defense at times.

With the Lakers needing depth, the ability to turn one player into two players helps immensely while Toronto uses a player they had no intentions of keeping along with Bargnani to upgrade at power forward.

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1. Kevin Love

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To Toronto: Kevin Love (four-years, 13,668,750 remaining), Malcolm Lee (two-years, 762,195 remaining)

To Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrea Bargnani (three-year, 10,000,000 remaining), Ed Davis (two-years, 2,207,040 remaining), Terrence Ross (four-years, 2,563,320 remaining), Future First Round Pick

Why Toronto Does It:

Love would have the potential to be not only the best power forward in the Eastern Conference but also one of the greatest Raptors of all-time. Toronto fans love hard-working, hustle players (Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams, anyone?) and they’d adore the way Love rebounds the ball at a consistent basis. The Raptors have struggled to rebound for years and would instantly have one of the best players in the league at doing it on their team. Not to mention, his combination of post and perimeter scoring would be perfect for interior production and Dwane Casey’s desire to constantly stretch the floor. They’d give up a lot of future potential but would move forward with a nucleus of Love and Valanciunas in the frontcourt with Lowry and DeRozan in the backcourt.

Why Minnesota Does It:

For whatever reason, Love and Minnesota just doesn’t appear destined to work out given the way the player has said he felt disrespected recently. If the Timberwolves do look to move him, this could be an intriguing package to help re-work their roster. Bargnani is a good passing big man, something coach Rick Adelman likes to have (examples: Chris Webber, Vlade Divac ) while Davis and Ross still hold a lot of upside. With Brandon Roy’s career in limbo, Ross could help provide a lot of things the team thought they were getting when they signed Roy. While Davis helps give the team a dependable rebounder and shot blocker that helps fill some of the defensive void left by Love that Bargnani can’t provide. From an offensive standpoint Minnesota improves, while defensively replacing Love’s rebounding isn’t going to happen.

Final Analysis:

Minnesota might be able to find more elsewhere for their star player but the package is certainly worth considering. The addition of Davis allows the team to also move Derrick Williams in another deal to help in other areas. Or if things suddenly start to work out for Williams with the Timberwolves he could take over as a starter once Bargnani’s contract expires. Meanwhile, Ross could turn into a potential starter down the line given his upside. The headaches Love has given the team in recent weeks might make a deal where they save money and get plenty of youth back seem worth it.

In Toronto’s case they would get a franchise changing piece that cements them as a playoff team for years to come. Love would compete for the best power forward ranking in the conference and would instantly become the team’s number one option, taking pressure off of DeRozan to produce. As great of a scorer as DeRozan is, he’s not a number one option and having Love to play off would be the same idea the team had with Bargnani and the guard, only this time with a big man that rebounds. Love’s hardworking attitude would fit right in with coach Casey’s defensive philosophy and as team’s put extra focus trying to block him out from rebounding, it’ll only free up Valanciunas to contribute more. Not to mention his hustle and determination would instantly make him a fan favorite.