Where do the Raptors and Andrea Bargnani go from here?

- March 13th, 2013

So, that’s it then. The Andrea Bargnani era in Toronto has likely come to a close. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. He was officially shut down on Wednesday with an avulsion sprain of the right elbow, not related to his previous right elbow injury that cost him 26 games.

It is highly unlikely the No. 1 overall pick of 2006 ever plays for the club again. The negatives of bringing him back far outweigh the positives and, simply put, it’s long past the time for a change. A change of scenery for all involved. One that should have occurred a long time ago, specifically after his 13-game mirage. Maybe Bargnani finds away to harness his obvious talents elsewhere. But, it certainly isn’t going to happen in Toronto.

While Bargnani’s teammates nobly never turned on him, the fans have and bringing him back would bring a toxic and unnecessary vibe to a franchise that needs as many positive vibes as possible, since the playoffs haven’t been sniffed in years.

Bargnani slumped to 40% shooting this season – better only than his troubling second campaign, the one that first set off some warning bells – his rebounding and team defence was as bad as ever. As expected, he didn’t much take to life as a reserve, even though that is the role he is best suited to in the NBA.

What’s next? Forget this amnesty talk. If it comes to that, and it’s beyond highly unlikely it ever does, it’s a disaster for the franchise. Using the amnesty on Bargnani would do nothing. They still wouldn’t have cap space to sign anybody beyond the mid-level exception, they still would be over the cap, and they’d still be paying him all of the money owed.

It would be great for Bargnani, but it wouldn’t be for the Raptors.

No, the smart move remains moving him. Teams previously had interest and as bad as he’s played and as injury-prone as he’s been of late, they’ll come back to the table. Golden State, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago and even a couple of others will sniff around again. The question is, how much will they be offering in return? Anything that can help even a little bit is better than simply removing (while still paying) Bargnani from the equation. Marc Spears connected the Raptors to Carl Landry and a sign-and-trade with the Warriors (after Landry opts out and agrees to a new, long-term deal) could make sense for everybody. If Philadelphia ever gets Andrew Bynum back, Bargnani would be a better complement than Spencer Hawes. Chicago still needs a big man who can stretch the floor or hit open threes once Derrick Rose is back creating. Cleveland only has finishers up front, not create their own shot types.

There’s a lot of possibilities and anybody and any contract can be traded in the NBA. History proves that, even if the new CBA will make deals more difficult to pull off. Don’t believe the hype that amnesty is the only option. Not only would it be a bad call, it also won’t happen as long as Bryan Colangelo is in charge. Since I expect him to be back next season, I fully expect Bargnani to be traded.

Ideally, he’ll suit up for Italy this summer to show he can still contribute and that he can go more than a few games before getting hurt.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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1 comment

  1. Chaid says:

    Think that waiting for his expiry is the best bet at this point?

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