To make things clear, I tried to make things as realistic as possible. I didn’t include teams that I felt had no need for a shooter like Bargnani, nor did I include a team with nothing good to offer back to Toronto either for the present or foreseeable future.
So, let’s take a look at places where Bargnani could end up, in no particular order.
1. Charlotte Bobcats
Andrea Bargnani + Ed Davis for Bismack Biyombo + DeSagana Diop
This trade allows the Raptors to give up Bargnani, as well as Ed Davis who Colangelo doesn’t want for some reason, for a young defensive big man Biyombo and an expiring contract in Diop. You could even make it more interesting by throwing in Calderon and his expiring deal for someone else. With the Raptors sporting a new front-court pairing of Valanciunas and Biyombo to go with Fields, DeRozan, and Lowry, the Raptors have a team that actually looks like it could play great defense, and not get stuck simply at the league average year after year.
I for one have been intrigued by Bismack Biyombo ever since the 2011 NBA Draft, and was one of a few players who I would have liked to see get drafted by the Raptors. He is only 20 years old, but is also a very raw big man who possesses great physical attributes for a player, despite only being 6’9. It would be tough for the Bobcats to trade him, but here’s why they might.
On the other end, the Bobcats add some more much needed scoring in Bargnani, along with a potential starting PF of the future in Davis, who Michael Jordan may be interested since Davis is also UNC alumni. Davis would finally get his shot to start at PF, something he should have gotten a long time ago in Toronto. This leaves the Bobcats with a nice core of players in Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis, Taylor, and allows them to use the one-time amnesty provision on Tyrus Thomas to free up cap space.
2. Denver Nuggets
Andrea Bargnani for Wilson Chandler + Timofey Mozgov + Quincy Miller
The Raptors can finally start Davis at PF with this trade (hopefully) and also get a quality starting wing player at the SF spot, another big man Mozgov behind Valanciunas (who they would probably waive) as well as a young SF in Miller. Rumours swirled last season that the Raptors were interested in Chandler even though he was a RFA, and actually wouldn’t surprise me if they still were. With all of the injuries and struggles offensively for the Raptors, a player like Chandler on the wings would instantly help the offense, and more importantly, the defense for the Raptors.
This trade also helps the Nuggets because they desperately need more size and especially scoring behind Faried and Koufos. In this situation, the Nuggets get a 7 footer who would come off the bench, score about 15 PPG, and would team up with fellow Italian Danilo Gallinari. Bargnani won’t do much to help them defensively, but on this team he wouldn’t really need to. He can do basically all he is built and programmed to do – score.
3. Phoenix Suns
Andrea Bargnani for Wesley Johnson + Sebastian Telfair + First Round Picks
On the surface, it doesn’t look like the Raptors get much, if anything here. But the Raptors get a couple of expiring deals who could actually help them this season, particularly Johnson. Keep in mind, Phoenix will also have their first round pick, along with the Lakers’ that can be included. With them making a playoff push with some unusual free agent signings in Dragic, Beasley and Scola, they may be willing to give both of them up to have a player like Bargnani help them make a playoff push. Of course, the Raptors also get the benefit of finally starting Ed Davis as the full time power forward, which in this case, is addition by subtraction.
Even without Nash, the Suns still play an up-tempo offense. So of course they could probably make room for someone like Bargnani with Frye out long-term. They do have Morris behind Scola, and could also put Beasley at PF for some matchups, but there’s not much else for the Suns to work with. Adding a big man would help them, and Bargnani would fit right in with the very little defense played in Phoenix.
4. L.A. Lakers
Jose Calderon + Andrea Bargnani for Pau Gasol + Chris Duhon
This was a suggestion that was brought up by Scott Carefoot of the Raptor Blog. The reasoning behind this was so that the Lakers get a stretch 4 big man to put beside Howard, another two shooters to put into Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system, and also a backup PG in Calderon who would be a huge upgrade over Steve Blake.
While the Raptors would get Pau, an all-star calibre player who could start with Jonas Valanciunas as a PF, or could start at center with either Amir Johnson or Ed Davis as the new starting PF with Valanciunas coming off the bench.
I fully agree with his reasoning’s behind the trade and think it could work.
There is however, one problem I have with the scenario. Does Kobe Bryant approve of this? It’s possible, but maybe not. Kobe Bryant has expressed his desire to retire in 2 years when his current contract expires. So it just doesn’t make sense for him to approve a deal that may hurt his chances of winning another ring or two. If all of us Raptor fans are fully aware of Andrea’s defensive short comings, you can bet that someone like Kobe Bryant knows even more about them having played against him many times.
Also, as I have said as well, don’t think the Lakers make any moves before getting a long-term commitment from Howard. But if that happens before the trade dadline, and he does resign with L.A., this trade becomes realistic.