Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reported earlier Thursday that Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo hinted that Bargnani could be playing for another team soon:
He’s (Bargnani) a unique talent, but sometimes a change of address is not bad. I’m not saying he’s asked for a trade, but he would certainly not fight or resist a situation if it was the right situation.
Toronto's frontcourt is currently in after the team traded away forward Ed Davis to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, as reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The team added swingman Rudy Gay to lead the team.
Bargnani had been productive in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons before suffering injuries the past two seasons. When healthy, he has averaged no worse than 16 points per game. He had been averaging about 5.5 rebounds per game since 2009 before battling injuries this season.
With Davis now in Memphis, Bargnani should receive even more minutes when he gets healthy. The center is currently recovering from an elbow injury he suffered against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 10, 2012.
Right now, the Raptors need to wait for him to get healthy before considering dealing the former top pick. His trade value can improve once he gets back on the court and regains his 2010-2011 form.
The team could also give him some time to play with Gay and see if they have something brewing. At 16-30, Toronto trails the Boston Celtics by 6.5 games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. There is still time for them to make a run at the postseason.
Bargnani is under contract for two more seasons, so there is no hurry to move him. The Raptors have time to decide if Gay and Bargnani can work together and get this team into contention in the future or if they want to unload the center.
The 27-year-old has shown signs that he can be a good offensive center in the NBA. The past two seasons have been plagued by injuries, and the team could decide to try to get some younger pieces in return.
His field goal percentage has gone down in each of the past four seasons, and his rebounding totals have gone down (for the most part) during that stretch.
Until Bargnani gets back on the court, Toronto can only think about what to do with the former top pick. In order to get fair value back, Bargnani will need to return soon and show what he can do before the trade deadline passes on February 21.
Talent and size are a dangerous combination in the NBA, so the Raptors have to heavily weigh their options before coming to a decision.