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Raptors’ Bargnani not bothered by trade rumors. Does anything bother him?

Dec 10, 2012, 2:07 PM EDT

Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani reacts to a call during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah Reuters

With his up and down play this season — what did you expect to change? — and the Raptors struggles, lots of Toronto faithful are hoping the franchise can finally send their former No. 1 pick somewhere. Anywhere. Trade the man.

And rumors started to swirl about him in a Pau Gasol deal (that would never happen, but we’ll get to that). But Bargnani told the Toronto Sun the talk doesn’t bother him.

“No, of course it doesn’t affect me, but I think it does make sense on this team,” he said. “Who else would you blame? I don’t really know what you want me to answer….

“Of course I hear the trade rumours,” he said. “But trades are part of the job. Since the first day I joined this team seven years ago, I knew I could be traded. That’s the reality. From Day 1 you know that can happen at any time.”

Now in his seventh season, Bargnani is averaging 16.8 points a game but on just 39.9 percent shooting overall and 32.6 percent from three. Add to that he doesn’t really rebound well and doesn’t defend much, and you have quite the player. So of course Raptors fans — and management — want to move him.

But he has two years and $22 million left on his contract AFTER this season. So, good luck finding a trade partner.

I can see where some think the Lakers might be interested because Bargnani is the kind of stretch four the Lakers might want to pair with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, more than Gasol.

But there are problems with that trade, and not just that the Raptors would have to throw in someone like Landry Fields or Jose Calderon to get the salaries close enough. First, the Lakers told Nash he would get to play with Gasol, they have to give it a chance. Second, Bargnani is not shooting well and hasn’t shot well from three for a couple seasons, why do the Lakers want his as a shooter again? Next, if Lakers fans complain Gasol is soft, wait until they got a load of Bargnani. Finally, and this may be the biggest key, the Lakers have their roster set up so that come the summer of 2014 all they have on the books are Nash and Dwight Howard. They can get a max free agent. They can sign Kobe Bryant back up. They can do a lot of things, but they have flexibility. Bargnani adds $11.5 million to the payroll that summer. The Lakers are not taking messing with that cap space, not likely for anyone, let alone Bargnani.

But expect to see Bargnani’s name in a lot of trade rumors going forward.

Just know he doesn’t care.

  1. michaeljordanseviltwin - Dec 10, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Bargnani doesn’t belong in the NBA. You already mentioned that he can’t rebound, defend, play in the post or even make a single meaningful play for your team at a big moment. He’s known for being a big man who can shoot from outside, but what advantage is that if you literally never take the ball inside? Teams can hide an undersized or terrible defender on him because he has never exploited a mismatch. He shoots a terrible percentage but stays in the league because he was a high draft pick with high expectations. I can’t stand to have guys like this diluting the quality of play in the league.

    • borderline1988 - Dec 10, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      Yep – I agree. He’s a terrible defender and rebounder, and it really hurts your team when your power forward can’t do anything on the defensive end, rebound, or even stop anyone else from rebounding.

      Although he’s not just a big man who can shoot from outside. The one thing Bargnani is really good at it is his ability to pump fake, drive to the mid-range, and then shoot a jumper. He really hits those shots at a high percentage, and he’s tough to guard in that scenario.

      Unfortunately, this season all he does is shoot 3s or drive with his ehad down and commit offensive fouls.

  2. cornbreadbbqred - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Is the Raptor script actually Pink, on those jerseys?

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