According to Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the Raptors have begun shopping the once sharp-shooting big man, essentially facilitating what has become an inevitable divorce:
While Casey is under contract through next season, Colangelo’s deal expires after this season and he’s well aware that he needs to turn this tide. To that end, the Raptors are dangling seventh-year center and 2006 No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani as trade bait but don’t have any takers thus far.
The Lakers have been reported as a possible destination for Bargnani as part of a possible deal involving forward Pau Gasol, but the big man is up for discussion in any and all trade talks so long as the potential pieces coming Toronto’s are good enough that they could help right this ship.
My only problem with such a report is the Raptors believing they are going to get something of franchise-altering value in return.
Nearly seven years ago, Bargnani was drafted with the first overall pick and he’s been failing to meet expectations ever since. Sure, he’s a seven-footer who can shoot the three-ball and score in bunches, but he’s currently converting on just 39.8 of his attempts from the floor overall, and a shooting an unimpressive 31.8 percent clip from downtown. Toss in uber-dispicable defense and paltry 12.62 PER and you have a player who you’ll be lucky to turn into a handful of expiring deals.
But that’s neither here nor there. The fact is, after six-plus years of disappointment and empty promises, it’s time for Toronto and Bargnani to part ways. Sometimes things just don’t work out; sometimes they fall apart. And this marriage has fallen apart.
Not only is Bargnani having another wildly inefficient year, but the Raptors currently have the second-worst record in the NBA and are falling fast. They’ve also committed an ample amount of money to wings like Landry Fields and DeMar DeRozan rendering Bargnani—and the $33 million he has left on his contract—expendable.
Again, unless the Los Angeles Lakers suffer a complete lapse in judgment, he’s not headed to Hollywood. Not for Pau Gasol at least. Yet regardless of where he goes, he has to go. Toronto and Bargnani gave it a good run, both parties attempted to work this out, but it’s not going to happen.
The Raptors currently don’t have the experience at center to maintain the utilization of a “one-in, four-out” system. Jonas Valanciunas is a promising prospect, but he can’t carry the two-way burden in the post alone. And as an essential stretch 4, Bargnani can’t carry any of it for him. Which is why we’ve been seeing more of Ed Davis.
And it’s also why Toronto needs to move on. Trade Bargnani to a team that can actually use a floor spacer and trade him with intent to garner altruistic size, someone who can bang down low on both ends of the floor.
Truth be told, it really doesn’t matter how the Raptors do it, though. Just as long as they do. This failed attempt at success has carried on long enough, meaning, again, that it’s time for them to do what my first ex-girlfriend couldn’t, and move on.
Cut your losses, stop trying to assemble a roster around one of the pieces that doesn’t fit within the current puzzle. Fix this by admitting this relationship is broken beyond repair.
Otherwise, Toronto better get used to spending even more time at the bottom of the Association’s totem pole.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.