What do Carlos Delfino, Rasho Nesterovic, Jay Triano and Marc Iavaroni have in common? Outside of the fact that three, if not all of them, will be members of the Raptors organization next season, they all seem to be beneficial to Andrea Bargnani’s overall comfort and development.
Bargnani has been on the record about his closeness with Delfino while he was a member of the Raptors, and clearly, Italian-speakers Rasho, as well as Jorge Garbajosa were part of the Bargnani-transition movement in his rookie season.
Word is also out that the Raptors attempted for the second time last year to acquire Bargnani's close friend Marco Belinelli from the Warriors in exchange for Joey Graham, only to have the Warriors ditch the deal at the last minute.
They moved Jermaine O’Neal to create minutes for Bargnani, added Marion to compensate for his lack of rebounding, and have now traded Jason Kapono for Reggie Evans to accomplish the same objective.
If you can read between the lines, Sam Mitchell wasn’t fired because he wasn’t getting his job done. He was, after all 8-9, coming off of two respectable seasons at that point. It was his knack for rubbing players, namely Bargnani, the wrong way.
Triano may have had a terrible season, but Bargnani flourishing under him actually netted him the job as head coach.
If anything, if the Raptors truly cared about pleasing Bosh, one might assume that their objective would have been to keep the coach that Bosh had such a great rapport with.
It was Colangelo who projected Bargnani as a first-overall pick when he was only 19-years-old, and it is he who made Bargnani the first-overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft.
If there is one thing you can take to the bank regarding the Raptors, it is that this team is being built to compliment Bargnani. It may be built around other players as well, but ultimately, every transaction, every coach they hire, and every move they make, they seem to keep Bargnani in mind.
While this information may rub some fans the wrong way, the fact is that Toronto has had a history of being unable to attract star players and a completely devastating track record when it comes to retaining them.
While Bargnani is far from being a superstar, he clearly has shown that he has the potential to be one. He’s also shown a love for Toronto, and while no one can truly know where a player’s head will be after two or three years, all signs seem to suggest that he will be playing in Toronto for a long time, and be doing so with a smile on his face.