Toronto Raptors Fans Will Have No Problem Waiving Bon Voyage to Andrea Bargnani
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Don't be alarmed if you heard something strange after reading that first paragraph.
That was just the sound of Raptors fans around the world cheering their hearts out. They're cheering because the questions are now coming to an end.
It feels like only yesterday when Toronto decided to take Bargnani with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. It's wild, but that was actually seven years ago.
The 2006 draft class has ended up being a notably weak one. Five of the players selected in the lottery are no longer playing on an NBA team. Bargnani hasn't stooped down to this level, but players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy and Rajon Rondo were all selected after Bargnani—the Raptors certainly could have picked a better player.
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Instead, they went with the seven-foot Italian that was known for his ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor.
The sad part is that they never really got that guy.
Time after time he would disappoint, only to have a random great moment that gave everybody hope. Hope that he would play harder, hope that he would take the game more seriously and hope that he would become the player that fans wanted him to be.
Raptors fans have every right to be disappointed, but it looks as though Bargnani is on his way out.
That has to be seen as a positive.
Here's a look at the best and worst moments throughout his career with Toronto.
Could he save Toronto? Would his style of play fit in this league?
These were all questions that would soon be answered as time moved forward.
Bargnani's rookie season was how you would expect most high-profile foreign players' first NBA season to be. It was full of three-point tries and a lack of free-throw attempts. Still though, there was a major highlight in career game No. 27 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Toronto trailed Portland by one point with 8.5 seconds left in overtime. Former Raptors point guard T.J. Ford was able to catch the inbound pass and drive into the key, forcing Bargnani's man to help at the basket. Ford kicked the ball out to Bargnani who knocked down an open 20-foot jump shot giving Toronto the lead with only 3.5 seconds left.
That basket ended up giving the Raptors the victory and it's one of the perfect examples of how Bargnani gave fans a false sense of hope.
Another bright spot was his perimeter shooting during the 2008-09 campaign. It marked the only season in which he shot 40 percent or higher from three-point range, as his total was 40.9 percent. He didn't have the best overall statistical performance of his career, but it was a promising sign toward what might be coming to Toronto.
Things soon changed...
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When Bargnani was bad, well, he was really bad.
Let's start with the most recent bad move. It can be common for players to turn on their former team if there was bad blood and something went down between the two of them—but what about current players?
Do people really talk mess on their own squad?
Well, enter Bargnani's comments earlier this year when he told an Italian newspaper that the Raptors (the team he was playing on) "are pretty much the worst team in the NBA."
Really man? It doesn't matter if he would have told that to a couple of martians coming down to experience Las Vegas for the weekend. That kind of sentence will find it's way into nearly all major media outlets. Bargnani messed up big with this one.
Another one of the worst moves of his career is unfortunate because it gave people a reason to question every move that he made following this decision.
It also wasn't his fault.
Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo decided that three average-to-good years as a professional basketball player and former No. 1 pick warranted a huge contract. Colangelo proceeded to offer Bargnani a five-year, $50 million extension.
How could Bargnani not accept that offer!
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Exactly, he couldn't.
With great money comes great responsibility, and this extension might have been what ultimately doomed Bargnani.
He just didn't see it coming.
And Bargnani seems to have finally hit the end of his Raptors career. It feels long overdue, but sometimes the wait makes everything that much sweeter.
Yahoo! Sports writer Kelly Dwyer believes that Bargnani could be on his way out of Toronto. Dwyer doesn't dance around the subject, saying that Bargnani is making too much for his poor production:
Bargnani, who the Toronto Raptors announced on Wednesday will miss the rest of the season with a right elbow injury not related to the one that kept him out of most of the middle part of the 2012-13 season, is a prime candidate to be waived under the NBA’s amnesty provision.
Will Bargnani's exit help or hurt the Raptors?
The lanky scorer is due over $22 million over the next two seasons, and though the Raptors aren’t in danger of hitting the luxury tax with Bargnani on board next year all signs seem to be pointing to the team waiving their hoped-for star and moving on after a disappointing season.
The man was completely overpaid and it eventually caught up to him.
He had his good moments, as well as plenty of bad ones, making this feel like the right time to split up and move forward as a franchise.
So, without further ado, Toronto Raptors fans happily waive bon voyage to you Andrea Bargnani.
May you have a successful career except for when you play your former team.
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