Toronto Raptors: Could DeMar DeRozan be Used as Trade Bait With Andrea Bargnani?

By Ryan Heckman
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

It is clear that one of the primary goals of the offseason for Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors is to get rid of the terrible contract that is Andrea Bargnani. The former first overall pick has been way short of panning out for Toronto and is owed roughly $22 million over the next two years.

The tough part about this situation though, is whether there is a team out there dumb enough to take on that type of deal. Bargnani alone likely won’t be moved, unless there is a GM that firmly believes the Italian still has potential in their system.

The latter is highly unlikely.

What the Raptors may have to do is involve another young prospect in the deal. Over the past two seasons, whenever this potential deal has arisen, most teams request the services of young swingman DeMar DeRozan in return.

Toronto has been reluctant to do so, and Bargnani has remained a Raptor. This offseason, though, if Ujiri is serious about change he may want to consider getting this thing done. DeRozan is quite an attractive piece of a potential trade and I would guess the Raptors could get something done if he is involved.

At 23 years old, DeRozan already has three years of experience. The former USC Trojan is a scorer first, but also an athletic and exciting guy to have on the floor. His high-flying ability can switch momentum up in the most crucial scenarios, getting a crowd involved instantaneously.

If Ujiri is serious about moving Bargnani, he may have to face the reality that is DeRozan joining that trade talk. It would be a shame for Raptors fans, but in the end it may wind up being the best for the team. Clearing cap room for the future and ridding themselves of this horrific deal is worth it in the long run.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA writer for also contributing to the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmheckman“Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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