By now, you may already have heard of a report/rumour going around that Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors are finally warming up to the idea of parting with Andrea Bargnani.
The original report, on the New York Daily News’ website, written by Mitch Lawrence, actually has a couple more interesting nuggets of Raptors-related news. The report states that Bryan Colangelo will be coming back to run the Raptors, “according to several league sources.” It also states that if Mike D’Antoni should become available (which is becoming more possible with each passing Knicks implosion), then “Triano could be jettisoned.”
First of all, I think we all expected Colangelo to be given an extension, no matter the results of this current season, the collapse of last season or the plethora of failed experiments in Toronto (Jermaine O’Neal, Hedo Turkoglu). There was, however, that very interesting report in the Toronto Star a couple of weeks ago that pointed out one reportedly dissatisfied MLSE board member.
No one can argue that after one great season in Colangelo’s first full season in Toronto, the franchise has gone downhill over the last four seasons. But one would also have to agree that Colangelo has been able to quickly erase his biggest mistakes (again, see O’Neal and Turkoglu).
I’ve been mostly convinced that I would want Colangelo back, on the simple premise that if you let him go, and you’re not going after Kevin Pritchard, then you’re still taking a step back. The only thing keeping me uneasy about BC coming back was my assumption that he still believed Andrea Bargnani was a franchise player worth building around.
However, today’s report could squash all of that. Now obviously, we don’t know, and likely won’t know for a while, if this report has any truth to it what so ever. Colangelo could come out tomorrow and say that it’s not true and that Bargnani will still be here long-term.
But if it is true, then I’d have to throw my full support behind a Colangelo extension. Over the last little while, Colangelo seems to be figuring things out. Besides drafting DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis, Colangelo traded Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright, tried to turn Jose Calderon into Tyson Chandler, and picked up James Johnson for next to nothing.
The Linas Kleiza signing was still suspect, but everyone loved it while watching him in the World Championships this past summer.
As for Bargnani, those who have read any of my posts will know that I don’t think his “potential” is an issue. He has the natural talent, size and versatility to be a 25 and eight type of player, with a block per game in there too. The issue with Bargnani is, will he ever apply himself on both ends of the floor for a consistent period of time? And if we’re still asking that question in year five, then the most likely scenario is that people will be asking the same question throughout his career.
His shot-blocking, overall defensive game and rebounding have taken drastic steps backwards this season after some improvement last year.
My opinion on Bargnani remains that if he is a power forward playing beside a true, defensive centre (like the aforementioned Chandler), then he is an NBA All Star. If he is a centre, or a power forward playing beside another power forward (like Chris Bosh, Amir Johnson or Ed Davis), then he is more detrimental to a team than beneficial.
So unless the Raptors acquire a true centre with a profound defensive impact in the next six-to-eight months, then I totally understand and whole-heartedly support Bargnani getting the boot.