Wow. Masai Ujiri does not mess around. Andrea Bargnani’s days as a Raptor are over as he heads to Atlantic Division rival the New York Knicks. Bargnani has long been the subject of trade rumors, as his days in Toronto have been numbered for many years, but he had been thought to be the owner of a Gilbert Arenas/Rashard Lewis level toxic contract.
A shrewd executive can trade anyone however, as Ujiri has proven, and the Raptors can finally close this up-and-down but mostly down chapter. The former Number One overall pick has never lived up to the hype, and only occasionally shown the flashes of brilliance that had GMs drooling over the possibility of the next Dirk Nowitzki. Sad to say for Andrea, Dirk he is not. With the shedding of his bloated contract, Toronto can begin their rebuild in earnest. What this means for their other low efficiency/high usage/overpaid scorer Rudy Gay is uncertain, but if Ujiri has any intention of creating a Denver Nuggets of Canada, those type of players can’t feel very safe right now.
As for the Knickerbockers, New York has reportedly given up sharpshooter Steve Novak and reserve (and aging) big man Marcus Camby, a future first round pick and two second round picks. That seems an incredibly high price to pay to get a player that isn’t exactly a superstar. Draft picks have value and the Knicks seem almost disdainful of them at times, as if Free Agency and blockbuster trades will literally solve all of their problems. You have to wonder why exactly the Knicks pulled the trigger on this move. Is Bargnani going to get them past the Pacers or the Heat? It doesn’t seem likely. When the Knicks were on point, their offense was sublime, capable of defeating any team on any given night. What does the addition of a one-dimensional jump shooting big do to bolster the offense? Bargnani will certainly relish the fresh start, but he’ll have to start producing quick to silence the naysayers. He comes with baggage and the (perhaps unfair) scent of a loser that has plagued several disappointing lottery picks.
Andrea Bargnani averages 15.2 points a game, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. Good luck, man. You are going to need it. Don’t take the boos personally.