The Toronto Raptors had hoped to deal their power forward and former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani during the season or maybe even after, but after his latest injury, he has officially become untradable in the future.
According to ESPN.com staff, Bargnani will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an elbow injury that is said to be unrelated to a previous elbow injury that forced him to miss 25 games earlier this season.
In all, Bargnani was only able to take the floor for 35 games during the 2012-13 campaign.
Injury issues are nothing new for the Raptors forward as he has dealt with them throughout his disappointing career. Bargnani has only played in 78 games or more three times during his career and in two of those seasons, he spent time coming off the bench.
Last season, Bargnani played in just 31 of 66 games and has now been labeled as an injury-prone player, which is a label he won't shake off for the remainder of his career.
Bargnani has never been able to live up to the expectations of being a top pick in the NBA. His best season came in 2010-11 when he averaged 21.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest, but he played in only 66 games that season.
Had he been able to stay healthy, Bargnani may have turned into a star offensive player, but that hasn't come to fruition for the Italian and that has left the Raptors looking to deal him as the team looks to begin a new era with Rudy Gay as its star player.
One of the rumors that surfaced during the year was the Raptors possibly trying to work out a deal with the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer, although that trade never happened. It isn't clear just what caused the potential deal to fall through, but Bargnani's injury history likely played a role.
On top of that, Bargnani is a turnstyle-type defender who isn't very good at being a solid interior presence in the paint. So, if he isn't scoring the ball, exactly what value could he possibly have to a team that is looking to acquire his services?
The answer is pretty much none and that, along with his injury-prone reputation will make it impossible for the Raptors to trade him and get anything of value in return.
According to the same ESPN.com report, Bargnani has two years and $22 million left on his deal, so he can't even be dealt as an expiring contract anytime soon. This presents a problem because that's a lot of money for Toronto to have wrapped up in one unproductive player as they look to build towards the future.
Toronto would love to take that money and spend it elsewhere or at least trade Bargnani to get someone back who can stay on the floor, but that won't happen anytime soon. The best-case scenario for the Raptors is that they wait another season and the chances of dealing Bargnani will increase significantly once he's in the final year of his deal.
Until then, it looks like there is nothing else they can do.
It's a harsh reality for a franchise that has struggled but finally looks to be on the right track with Gay and some nice talent around him in the lineup. However, the Raptors can't expect to move forward as long as they are stuck with Bargnani's contract and his always ailing body.