With the NBA trade deadline approaching this afternoon at 3 p.m. EST, the entire league will be in a frenzy to make the right moves. The Toronto Raptors' desire to rid themselves of big man Andrea Bargnani has been well documented.
According to a tweet from ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, the Bucks are actively searching for a destination to send the scoring guard. Their extension proposal was denied by Ellis, as he wishes to play out the season and discuss a contract in the offseason.
Ellis' year with Milwaukee as been dismal to say the least, averaging 18.3 points yet on a poor 39.9 percent from the field. The pairing of himself and Brandon Jennings in the backcourt may have something to do with this, as Ellis' career shooting average of 45.6 shows no sign of previous struggle.
As such, the team is looking to trade Ellis for the best offer available. Could Toronto entice the Bucks with Andrea Bargnani?
The Italian center is having a poor season, even by his standards. While injury has kept him out for most of the year, Bargnani's output of 14 points and 3.8 rebounds in 30.3 minutes is dreadful. Not that rebounding was ever his strong suit, but a 7'0" frontcourt player should not be averaging the same amount of boards as a 6'3" guard like Ellis.
It has long been assumed Bargnani was on his way out of Toronto, with just his contract being the only speed-bump. He is owed $33 million over the next two seasons (the $10 million for this year is included), which doesn't translate as necessarily "worth it" when reviewing his contributions to a team.
However, Bargnani's struggles could be related to the lack of another serviceable big man in Toronto's frontcourt.
In Chris Bosh's last season with the Raptors, Bargnani put up 17.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in 35 minutes per game. He also shot 47 percent from the field, along with a stellar 37.2 from three-point range. Having a player of Bosh's caliber alongside him would have given Bargnani breathing room to play at such a high level.
Since Bosh's transition to the Miami Heat, Bargnani is averaging a slightly higher 18.3 points per game. However, his rebounding has dropped to 4.8 per night, in addition to a lower shooting percentage.
Milwaukee doesn't necessarily have a player of Bosh's fortitude, yet a combination of Ersan Ilyasova and Samuel Dalembert is slightly more potent than Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas. The latter may develop into a physical presence, but doesn't have the experience to play at a high level just yet.
While there's no guarantee Bargnani would improve his play in Milwaukee, it is a point Toronto could make in an effort move the center.
The Raptors don't necessarily have a place for Ellis in the rotation, with an already talented group of Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross. There is the possibility of looping in a third team to offload Ellis, thus receiving a player that will be useful for the team.
One potential deal of many could involve sending Ellis to Boston for Brandon Bass and Jason Terry. Ellis' presence would offset the Celtics' loss of Rajon Rondo, keeping them in the playoff hunt until his return.
Toronto would receive a mid-range marksman in Bass, who is also a solid rebounder for his size. His offensive game would ensure appropriate spacing for driving lanes that DeRozan and Gay can benefit from, as well as keeping the defense from clogging the paint.
Adding a veteran guard in Terry allows the Raptors' offense to flow seamlessly when Lowry heads to the bench, as the former Sixth Man of the Year doubles as a point guard. His long-range shooting would be a welcome addition as well.
Convincing Milwaukee to take Bargnani might involve a future draft pick, but the trade would ultimately help each team involved in their own way. The value of each piece being sent out is disproportionate to what is being received, yet that is often a sacrifice teams must make to improve.
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