As we hopefully get this season off the ground, it is important to look at the squad we have and wonder what sort of value any of our pieces have on the open market versus what services they provide the Toronto Raptors.
In this piece I will address what the market is for both Bargnani and Johnson. Personally I believe that Ed Davis, at this point, is untradeable. He has shown that he can be effective on the glass and is younger than Amir. With another season or two and solid minutes, he should progress into a much better option than Amir.
While my colleague did a solid job addressing some possible moves, I want to take it a step further and focus on AB and Johnson and discuss how important they can be.
Bargnani, like when he was drafted, is a rare commodity. There aren’t many people that have his height and his range. Since he is only 25 but has many years of experience under his belt, perhaps some teams will think that with a change of scenery he could blossom.
As displayed last year for the abysmal Raptors, Bargnani showed that he can score 20 points a game. What team wouldn’t be interested in a big man who shoots 40 percent from three, is 7'0" tall, averaged 21.7 a game last season and is only 25?
Contrary to popular belief in Toronto, Bargnani is highly valued for the unique abilities he can provide any team in the league.
Since his days in Detroit, the league knew that Amir Johnson had the potential to do some great things in the league. He has the tenacity (which often gets him into foul trouble) and energy to average 10 rebounds a game. His offensive game has improved last year but he remains inconsistent.
January was his best month last season (although it was still riddled with inconsistency) and he averaged 12.2 points, 7.5 rebounds (2.5 offensive) and one block per game. Although those numbers do not jump out at you, the reason these numbers are intriguing is because they were done in only 29 minutes per game. If you forecast those numbers per 48 minutes Amir would have averaged 20 points, 12.5 rebounds (four offensive) and 1.7 blocks per game.
Anyone would love these numbers on their team. Although it seems as if Amir has been in the league for ages, he is still only 24 years old. With some further seasoning and ability to remain on the floor, Amir could be a great asset to a competitive team.
The most important thing to look at when attempting to create trade scenarios, especially in basketball, is need and salary. For Mr. Johnson we need to look at a team in need of offensive rebounding and some solid play from the four. Trading him to a team like Indiana would be a foolish scenario.
In the West there are more suitors. New Orleans would be a great move (assuming David West has gone) while Oklahoma City, Phoenix and Golden State could use his services. Let us look at some possible moves to these teams. I could not find any real possibilities in a move to OKC.
Andris Biedrins could really use a change of scenery. He had some great seasons in '07-08 and '08-09. He is still only 25 years of age and could provide a solid defensive presence for the Raptors even after Valanciunas arrives.
The Warriors would love Amir’s services as well. With David Lee manning the center position, Amir could fill in at the 4 nicely and get many of the rebounds from Curry and Ellis’ shots.
This trade seems to work both ways as Amir would give the Suns further defense and power at the power forward position.
With the arrival of Gortat, Lopez essentially lost his spot but he could give the Raptors some great interior defense and his offensive game is still improving.
He will never match his twin Brook in offensive production but he can have some big games nonetheless.
Ariza has been a disappointment for the Hornets. Ariza averaged 11 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game last season.
With the departure of West (which seems very likely) and Landry possibly moving as well, Johnson would be a great option at the 4 and they could move Ariza’s salary as well.
The Raptors are in dire need of a small forward and this could give the Raptors some veteran presence and defensive presence against all of the strong small forwards in the East.
Although Bargnani and Amir play somewhat of the same position, what they bring to a team is completely different. Bargnani would bring scoring, outside shooting, solid free-throw percentages and poor defense.
I think a great fit for Bargnani would be Orlando. If they want to try and keep Dwight, landing Bargnani to play the 4 and still stretch the defense would be ideal for the Magic.
Other possible teams that could actually use AB’s services include: Miami, Milwaukee, Detroit, Memphis and Golden State. There are other teams that would still love to have Bargnani, but don’t necessarily need him. So where could we trade Bargnani?
As I try to look at every team and see what would be worth it from the Raptors point of view, there seems to be less and less that gives return on a 25-year-old, No. 1 overall pick investment.
I believe that we should not trade Andrea Bargnani because he can continue to improve especially if he plays the 4. He has some great value but not enough trade partners that could give us much to our liking in return. We desperately need a center and I would love if we could grab Biedrins, Lopez or another solid high-quality centre which would allow AB to play the 4.
Looking at the teams mentioned, I was looking at ideas such as Bargnani for: Jerebko and Stuckey; Miami draft picks; Jason Richardson; Biedrins and…? It was tough to find a trade that I thought would help the Raptors for today and tomorrow without giving up on this solid asset.
I think it would be a good idea to trade Johnson this season for a small forward or defensive center. Although Bargnani has value, the teams that would want him don’t have much that we can get back in return that would be positive for the organization.
The last thing I want to do is sell low on a 25-year-old scoring 20-plus points per game.
Amir, on the other hand, can play but there isn’t room for him on this squad.
What do you think?
Thanks for the read!