The Toronto Raptors need to consider trading Andrea Bargnani during the offseason, if anyone will take him and his big contract.
The power forward is the second-highest paid player on the Raptors squad, behind small forward Rudy Gay. Last season, Bargnani earned $10 million.
And exactly what impact did he make for that huge sum?
He averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per 28.7 minutes of game play. Compared to his career statistics, these numbers are terrible; Bargnani averages 15.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game over his career.
What’s more, the power forward injured his elbow, and as a result, finished his season early in March, as reported by CBSSports.com.
By the end of the 2012-13 season, Bargnani was completely overshadowed by the other talented Raptors on the low post, like rookie center Jonas Valanciunas and power forward Amir Johnson.
For the 2013-14 season, the Raptors are contracted to pay Bargnani a whopping $10.75 million. He will remain the second-highest paid player on the team.
Unless, of course, the Raptors find a way to trade him.
However, trading a player who has proven himself unimportant to the team and almost useless will be a difficult task for the Toronto Raptors.
They need to find a team willing to take Bargnani, a team that would offer him a change of scenery in the hopes of resurrecting his once stellar play. A team that has the desire to get rid of a similarly overpaid player who doesn’t quite fit with its squad.
If Toronto can find such a team, it should consider the trade; it doesn’t have much to lose, considering Bargnani doesn’t appear to have the drive or the skills to fulfill the role he once did with the Raptors.
But if the Raptors do unload Bargnani, what are they looking for? Where do they need help?
The Raptors acquired a quality small forward in Rudy Gay in January. He averaged 18.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and he led the team in scoring most games.
Toronto also has Landry Fields, Linas Kleiza and Quincy Acy to back him up at the position, providing Kleiza doesn’t opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Toronto is also set at the shooting guard position, with DeMar DeRozan starting. He played well last season, averaging 18.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. The Raptors are also guaranteed to have Terrence Ross to sub in for DeRozan, and if they make an effort to bring back Alan Anderson, they won’t have a strong need for shooting guards.
The Raptors will have needs, then, at the low-post positions and at point guard if they trade Bargnani. Obviously, losing a big man like Bargnani will open up a position on the low post, and if the Raptors could find a decent trade for a power forward/center, they should consider it.
While center Jonas Valanciunas and power forward Amir Johnson are great, they could use help, especially if Bargnani is traded away. Valanciunas has improved greatly but is still learning and could therefore use some solid backup.
The Raptors may be more in need at the point guard position. Currently, Kyle Lowry is the only point guard contracted to return to the Raptors. He had some backup in Sebastian Telfair last season, but Telfair became a free agent once the season ended.
Though Lowry was not terribly disappointing, he didn’t quite live up to the expectations set for him. He averaged 11.6 points, 6.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds per 29.7 minutes of game play. Toronto would be wise to find a good backup for Lowry if an appealing trade presents itself.
Yes, a Bargnani trade seems a lofty goal and, probably to other teams, unattractive. However, the Raptors do at least need to consider such a trade because of Bargnani’s utterly disappointing play last season.
Hopefully Toronto can find a way to trade him and add a solid player to the team.