Andrea Bargnani has garnered a lot of attention this past week. Starting with his unwelcome return to the lineup, to the many trade rumors, Andrea Bargnani has had a pretty big chip on his shoulder this season.
Since his return, Bargnani hasn't been playing amazingly, so to speak, but he has helped a lot in terms of how the past two games have played out.
He is averaging 13.5 PPG on 60-percent shooting since his return. Sure, this may only be two games, but for those who watched his play, he is making much better decisions on the court.
One can say that Andrea has realized what the fans think of him and is trying to change the way he plays to suit the team. He is not shooting the ball as much, which could be due to the fact that he isn't getting as much playing time, but the shots that he does take are much smarter than the ones he used to take.
He still is getting a hefty amount of playing time coming off the bench, but in those minutes he has produced better scoring chances compared to when he was taking 15 shots a game, which is his season average.
His rebounding is once again a major concern, but not as much as before. If Andrea can kick himself in the butt and tell himself to actually make a hustle play, he might be more appreciated in the city of Toronto.
Overall, his on-court antics are pretty good so far, but the bad news is that this has only been for two games, and there are still many games to see what Bargnani can do to the team.
Now moving to the business side of basketball, Bargnani has been in constant trade rumors, including one that would send him and a couple of smaller players in exchange for Chicago Bulls PF Carlos Boozer.
While there may be other deals on the table for Bargnani, this is the one that has built up a lot of momentum and has a lot of talk surrounding it.
Boozer is having a better season, but the fact that he makes $5 million more than Bargnani per year is a huge hit to Toronto's cap flexibility.
Boozer is a very good player, and his leadership and veteran presence will definitely help the team, but with the most recent Rudy Gay trade limiting Toronto's options in the free agent market, bringing Boozer on board would just make the situation worse.
For now, it's safe to say that bringing Il Mago off the bench is the best decision for the Raptors. Amir Johnson has been playing stellar basketball, and he and Aaron Gray/Jonas Valanciunas as starters is much better for the team.
If there is a situation where the Raptors gain significant value and open up cap space, they should make that trade. But for now, keeping Bargnani on the bench should please everyone.