On Wednesday night Andrea Bargnani made his return from injury for the Toronto Raptors, and the growing question is how much longer will the big fella remain in Canada?
As we get closer to the NBA trade deadline (February 21) we see the rumors that the Raptors will trade Bargnani are getting hotter and hotter. There is so much smoke that I am starting to think there will be fire, but I am not certain a trade will take place simply because I have to imagine that a trade for the current version of Bargs is a sell-low scenario so we could see the Raps pass if they deem the return asset(s) to be sub-par. I think there may not be a lot of teams willing to pay a good price for a guy who is seemingly declining and who is owed just under $30 million still through 2015. It has been several seasons in a row now where Bargs has seen his shooting decline, including 3-balls. 2009 was the last time that Bargs got me out of my seat regularly on jump-shots like Larry Bird once did because the shot was so pretty and so money.
Bargnani was not only the no.1 overall draft pick for Bryan Colangelo and the Raps in 2006, but he was the GM’s first ever draft pick at the helm of Canada’s team. The Raps have won just three out of every 10 games that Bargnani has played in over the past 2+ seasons (two previous seasons plus the Raps are 4-18 with Bargs in the line-up this season…FYI the Raps are 13-14 without Bargs this season). The T-Dot is a putrid 17-36 in the Dwane Casey era when Bargs plays so there is a case to be made that the seven foot Italian could use a change of scenery and that the Raps should be willing to oblige.
The Raps traded their no.1 pick in the 2013 draft for Kyle Lowry (likely anyway…the pick is top three protected, and 15-30 protected…the Raps are extremely likely to be in the 4-14 range unless they win the draft lottery so it looks like they will lose the pick) plus they traded their 2013 second round pick in the Rudy Gay deal so we may see Colangelo go shopping for a draft pick(s). He has sold the idea of rebuilding to MLSE and while I think the Gay deal was a good gamble I have to think that BC will be looking to get back into the 2013 draft and a Bargnani trade is likely the best way to accomplish that.
I think it is a big deal that Colangelo has cleared the idea of a trade with Bargnani, I mean why open that particular line of dialogue if you were not going to actively pursue a trade, I am just concerned about how good the return asset(s) could be. Pau Gasol would have been a hot and heavy rumor, but he will be out for a while due to a recent injury. I wonder if Bargs can fetch an asset on Pau’s level, Rant Sports is the place to be to follow the Bargnani situation going forward.