The cursed season of Andrea Bargnani is now officially over. The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday their starting power forward has been shut down because of a new injury in his blighted right elbow.
Picked first overall by the Raptors in 2006, Bargnani has spent his entire pro career north of the border, but that too may be coming to an end. The club owes him $22 million over the next two years under the terms of a $50-million deal signed in 2009.
It appears Toronto will never be able to get value for money (or their high draft pick) considering Bargnani’s career per-game averages in the past seven seasons: 15.2 points, 4.8 total rebounds (3.9 defensive), .437 field-goal percentage, 1.3 assists and 0.9 blocks — about the only positive is his .825 percentage from the charity stripe.
Logic dictates it’s probably best for both sides if the 27-year-old is traded or cut loose to be able to catch on elsewhere. The thing is, general manager Bryan Colangelo may not be so willing to admit defeat and move on. What GM can, especially when the topic is a 7-foot No. 1 who is supposedly entering his prime time as an athlete?
Even the “prime time” description is debatable when it comes to Bargnani and his abilities. His trade value can’t be all that great right now: he’s missed more than half the season for the last two seasons due to various injuries, and his dedication to the game is constantly in question when he’s on the court.
He’s not good at defending or rebounding, his shooting from the floor isn’t that great when he *is* healthy, and he’s not known for his quickness either. If the Raptors have already committed approximately $28 million per year to keep both Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, it doesn’t make fiscal sense to keep Bargnani around also, 7-footer or not.
What can they get for him? Maybe a middling draft pick or a bench player — maybe both, but that’s certainly no guarantee. Given the less-than-flattering descriptions in this story, what team would want him badly enough to offer those kinds of assets in a trade?Probably no one now. But maybe the scene will change by the summer, when Bargnani’s elbow, wrist and whatever else is bothering him has healed, and clubs are considering their roster.
Bargs might be had for cheap then, and the center position is notoriously difficult for teams to fill. You can teach just about everything but size, so he still has that going for him… which is nice. If he can find a way to re-energize himself, maybe he can revive his NBA career. For his sake, he better hope so.