According to Howard Beck of The New York Times, the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors have agreed in principlet to a deal that will send Andrea Bargnani to N.Y. in exchange for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA draft.
While Camby used to be a really productive NBA player, he was essentially invisible with New York this season. He shot 32.1 percent from the field and played in just 24 games. Camby's 39 years old, and the Knicks have no room for him or his contract.
It is sad to see Novak go after he captured the hearts of Knick fans with his sweet shooting as well as his eccentric celebrations after hitting a shot. But it’s time. He earned his $16 million contract with his performance in the 2011-2012 season, in which he led the league in three-point shooting, but that will likely never be duplicated due to the fact that he’s so one dimensional.
Novak may very well have been replaced by Chris Copeland, who was a more effective scorer this season, since he was able to incorporate drives to the rim to open up his outside game. Copeland, a restricted free agent, could receive more money from other teams, but there's always the chance that he may be willing to take less in order to stay in New York.
Bargnani is an absolute perfect fit in New York. He stands at seven feet tall but has the jumper of a wing player. Last season with Toronto, he put up 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, but those numbers will undoubtedly climb next season with the Knicks and Mike Woodson’s offense.
Carmelo Anthony will finally have a big guy who can pull defenders out of the paint. For that reason alone, the big Italian sharpshooter is worth bringing in.
Anthony can now work with more room in the post, where he has always been most comfortable, with minimal help-defense being thrown his way. Just imagine what Bargnani’s impact would’ve been in the second round of the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers—Roy Hibbert wouldn’t have been as effective defensively, and New York would have had more opportunity to get to the rim.
The Knicks led the league in three-pointers attempted and made last season, and now the team will be able to put forth a lineup that, at times, will boast five players who can stroke it from beyond the arc.
Will Bargnani start over Tyson Chandler at center? Probably not, mostly due to the fact that he’s a poor defender and an inconsistent rebounder.
However, Copeland and Anthony played the 5-spot for stretches last season—a personnel alignment that played a key role in the team's 13-game winning streak, with Chandler sidelined for eight of those games. The team needs a true center, which is why they should hold onto Chandler and keep him out of deals that don’t send a quality big man in return, but that’s not to say that Bargnani can’t play center at times.
The Knicks are loaded with three-point shooters. Raymond Felton, Tim Hardaway, Jr., J.R. Smith (if he re-signs), Iman Shumpert, C.J. Leslie, Copeland and Anthony can all knock down jumpers—now throw a 7'0" center with a smooth shot into that mix. How are bruising teams like the Pacers going to cover everyone?
This potential trade will have to wait until July 10th to be completed, as reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York:
Sources say in order to make the trade work, the Knicks are going to have to sign-and-trade at least one player into the trade to make it work after July 10—when the league's annual moratorium is lifted. It has to be a player the Knicks had at the end of the season.
Earl Barron and Quentin Richardson are possibilities, according to sources.
This trade genuinely benefits both sides. The Knicks are improving their current roster by adding a player who can come in and contribute right away, and the Raptors are shedding a pretty hefty contract ($23 million over the next two seasons).
While Toronto will probably not make a lot of noise next season, New York has already made some strides towards a championship next season, first in drafting Hardaway and Leslie and now in trading for Bargnani.
The Knicks are a team that is in "win now" mode, and they are looking like a championship team more and more every day.