While most teams are trying to figure out how to stop their first-round opponent, the Raptors are figuring out what they need to do this offseason to become a playoff team for the 2012-13 season.
One of the things they should consider is trading their leading scorer, Andrea Bargnani.
Bargnani doesn’t work well with the Raptors system, as he is a below-average defender and a brutal rebounder for his size. Dwane Casey needs someone who can help Jonas Valanciunas on the glass next year, while also helping to contain NBA bigs. While he is talented player, Bargnani doesn’t fit what Casey wants in his starting power forward.
Even if Ed Davis isn’t the scorer that Bargnani is, he is a better defender and a much better rebounder. If he continues to get better, he could become a solid starting power forward.
However, even if Davis isn’t ready to step in next season, the Raptors could sign a veteran big man via free agency or use their lottery pick on a power forward.
While they will miss Bargnani’s scoring, they have tons of cap space to sign a player or two to fill that void and Valanciunas should be a bigger threat to score from the center position than Aaron Gray.
Although Andrea still has three years and $32.25 million left on his current contract, that’s not a lot for a guy who can stretch the floor and can get you 20-plus ppg. Therefore, his contract shouldn’t be a big issue when negotiating a trade with another team, and the Raptors should be able to get a decent return for him.
The Raptors lacked a quality small forward, scoring off the bench and good play from veterans. If they could address two of those issues by trading Bargnani, they will be an improved team and will have a shot at making the playoffs next year.