The Toronto Raptors finished the 2012-2013 NBA season with a record of 34-48, missing out on the postseason. They created a ton of excitement when the traded for Rudy Gay, but ultimately their inefficient offense and lack of consistent defense led to their demise this season and another missed trip to the playoffs.
There’s no doubt that the Raptors have a lot of decisions to make this off-season. They have to make a decision regarding their general manager, Brian Colangelo. They have to figure out what adjustments they need to make with their system to help this team be more successful. They also need to pick which player they are going to amnesty.
Toronto has two prime candidates that have been discussed in regards to being amnestied: Linas Kleiza and Andrea Bargnani. Both players have given the team little production lately and are basically just wasting cap-space. Kleiza appeared in just 20 games this season and averaged just 7.4 points and 2.6 rebounds on 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 30.3 percent shooting from long range. Similarly, Bargnani played in just 35 games and averaged only 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game on 39.9 percent shooting and 30.9 percent shooting from three, despite playing 10 more minutes per game than Kleiza.
Based on salary alone, Bargnani would be the smart move in regards to using the amnesty clause considering he is signed for just two more years and is owed a total of $23 million while Kleiza has a player option for next season for just $4.6 million. However, Bargnani being the right player to amnesty goes far beyond just the money.
Since being drafted by Toronto, Bargnani has been a player with potential that hasn’t been realized and that plays awful defense. That was once again on display this season as he was horribly inefficient and played almost no defense at all. The case against amnestying Bargnani is that he may have trade value, but they have talked of dealing him for about a year now and there doesn’t seem to be a market for him. Bargnani has worn out his welcome with the Raptors and it’s time to get him out of Toronto. Amnestying him is the smartest option the team has.