Picking apart Andrea Bargnani’s flaws and proposing trade scenarios to get him the hell out of town is nothing new for Raptors fans, but the vitriol towards the big Italian has never been as strong as it is here in the early portion of 2012-13.

Between the tease of his impressive 13-game stretch at the beginning of last season, the fact that’s he’s now in his seventh NBA season, the fact that he seems to be rebounding and defending as bad as he ever has, the fact that the Raptors are 3-11 and the fact that there are other, younger players in Toronto (Valanciunas, Lowry, DeRozan, etc.) for fans to be excited about, it seems as though Raptors fans have finally had enough of the man Bryan Colangelo famously dubbed “the enigma of all enigmas.”

Among the plethora of hypothetical trade proposals out there (and that’s all they are, is hypothetical proposals put out there by fans and media members), you’ll find one constant – virtually every idea to get Bargnani out of Toronto ends with him in Los Angeles and Pau Gasol in Toronto.

A couple of weeks ago, it was Carefoot who kind of got the ball rolling on the matter, proposing Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon for Gasol and Chris Duhon. Michael Grange was thinking along the same lines, except he had Steve Blake coming to Toronto with Pau instead of Duhon accompanying the big man. Just do a twitter search or even a google search for “Bargnani Gasol” and you’ll be flooded with timelines and fan forums proposing the deal.

Most recently, Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio proposed a trade that would send Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan to LaLa Land in exchange for Gasol. For the record, while I wasn’t a fan of the DeRozan extension, I still wouldn’t want to give him up for a couple of seasons of a declining Pau Gasol, but I would be heavily in favour of the Bargnani for Gasol swap in general.

Even if you had to throw in Calderon’s expiring contract and then had to take back a downgrade at the point in either Blake or Duhon, I probably still make the Bargnani/Gasol swap every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

The way he’s playing right now, Bargnani has reduced himself to little more than a floor-stretching three-point specialist, and even in a couple of declining seasons, the upgrade to Gasol would likely pay incredible dividends for the Raptors. Pau is an underrated defender and rebounder who can still be an offensive force for a few years, despite how he’s looked so far in 2012-13.

Sure, his field goal percentage has been in a nosedive for the last four seasons, but we’re still talking about a guy who averaged 17 and 10 last year to go with over three assists and more than a block per game. If you think he’s suddenly lost it all because of a bad start to this season, you’re dreaming. Maybe he’s not happy in L.A. anymore after a couple of years of being underused, or maybe it’s just taking him a while to get going, but to some degree, Pau’s a future Hall of Famer who “still has it” if you ask me.

And you know what? I think the Lakers know that too, which is why, despite Bargnani actually being a good fit in Mike D’antoni’s system, I just can’t see Mitch Kupchak making this move or Kobe Bryant allowing him to make it, and that’s likely where the pipe-dream ends.

For what it’s worth, Bargnani is owed $10 million this season, $10.75 million next season, and then has an early termination option before the last year of his contract, when he’ll be owed $11.5 million in 2014-15. Gasol has more than a whopping $38 million remaining on his contract over the next two seasons, but he has no options and his contract comes off the books after the 2013-14 season, when as Scott had mentioned, the Raptors might be thinking about extending Kyle Lowry.

Comments (34)

  1. Once Cowherd suggests something then you *know* it isn’t going to happen.

  2. I said this when Scott initially suggested the trade but Kupchak would laugh in our faces especially this season when Bargnani seems to have completely tanked.

    There’s no need for the Lakers to give up a guy like Gasol for someone to fill in that stretch four role that is fairly easy to fill. Heck, even Jamison has been playing well since D’Antoni took over and the team can easily get by with him in that role.

  3. I’m certainly in favour of trading Bargnani. But I would much rather see him traded where Ed Davis could get a chance to start, for expiring contracts, or for another young player. Adding Pau would make us a competitive team, but I’d much rather see the team blow up and and start over rather than where it would end up with a guy like Pau.

    Now, before anyone says “you won’t get a good young player for Bargnani”, well, this is where Ed Davis could be used as a trade chip to get one. A couple suggestions I had which I think are realistic were:

    Andrea Bargnani and Ed Davis for Bismack Biyombo and DeSagna Diop.

    Andrea Bargnani for Wes Johnson and Sebastian Telfair and LA’s pick.

    • All I can say is REALLY????? You would be happier with Biyombo or Wes Johnson? What because he had one good game against Toronto? Do you even know basketball?? REALLY? I mean really?

      • Um, ya? I would prefer them actually. I’d take anything for him right now.

        If you think teams will be giving up anything of high value to the Raptors for Bargnani, you must not know basketball. REALLY? I mean really?

        • I never said that teams would give up anybody of high value for him. What I am saying is if you are unhappy with Bargnani and you want to run him out of town. I’ll give you a week with Biyombo or Telfair, before you’re packing their bags as well.
          This team is close with Bargnani. Whether you want to believe it or not. Not making excuses, but it’s been a tough schedule, with horrible officiating. They are better than their record, and you know it. But to say you would prefer Biyombo over Bargnani is ridiculous.

          • You made it seem as though teams are lining up for Bargnani’s services if/when he becomes available. I can gaurantee you that they’re not and you won’t get much back from any team that is interested.

            Biyombo is purely for potential. I think he’d be a great fit in Toronto purely for his defense, I also think he’d do quite well next to JV.

            Nobody had the Raptors 3-11 to start the year, and it may surprise you but I actually thought the Raptors could make the playoffs this year.

            Close? What do you think the Raptors are close to? Low playoff seeds and first round exits every year? Sure. But unlike you, I don’t see that as a good thing at all. That’s the worst spot to be as a team.

            Saying I prefer Biyombo over Bargnani isn’t ridiculous at all. In fact, I’d say anyone who still thinks Bargnani is the solution to this team is being ridiculous. Most people will tell you that.

      • yes REALLY!! Seriously.. REALLY.. Are you really?

  4. love when people say that they would “take anything for him”…. this isn’t school yard playground bullshit… Toronto already traded someone for nothing, and if i remember correctly, that Carter deal wasn’t so great…..
    why would you trade a guy, when his value is low? it’s been like 14 games, and people are cryin already. i don’t understand how people get upset with a bad team, when they knew that they would be bad.
    why not trade him when he’s doing well? either wa, you want him gone, or you’re just a hypocrite…

    • It’s so interesting how differently Bargnani nut riders perceive “good” stretches of play from him compared to poor stretches of play.

      We didn’t hear “It’s only been 13 games” at the beginning of last season.

      • My favourite part of it all, is when they say:

        Can’t trade him when he’s doing good, he’s too valuable.

        But also:

        Can’t trade him when he’s playing bad, his value is too low.

  5. What a load of cap!

  6. What a load of crap!

  7. Did you just call Pau Gasol a future Hall of Famer?

    Are the NBA’s HOF standards THAT low?!

    • Basketball Reference has him as a 63% chance of making it right now, and he’s still got a few years left of good basketball.

      I don’t think it’s a reach to call Gasol a future HOFer.

    • Can you be like pau? Then maybe u shudnt be commenting like this. Who else would you rather be hall of famer? Chris bosh? Now thats low

  8. Umm … the headline here? … what MB said (twice). Times ten.

  9. I dont mind it if we only swap Bargs for Gasol. They get younger, more atheletic and less salary. We get someone good. But we gotta keep Calderon around to make sure Gasol doesn’t turn into a pouty baby. Only way I can see him accepting the demotion.

  10. Dumping Bustnani is great, but we have plenty of big men. Trade him for a capable swingman.

    • I agree we need scoring at the three. A front court of JV, Davis, Johnson with some time from Gray can handle things, if we can bring somebody in who can compliment DeRozan and Lowry.

  11. This trade would be fucking awesome, if it were to take place. However, I think the Raptors would be better served in bringing back younger players in any bargnani/calderon trade as they need a team that can grow together. And with Gasol he’d play his two years and then would be gone and we would either have to watch Steve Blake or Chris Duhon in a raptors jersey (and I really can’t stand either one of them)

    • the problem with that is BC thinks this team is on the rise. So getting younger players doesnt match his persona of the team. He values his players too “highly”, maybe thats why we cant get a good trade in here.

  12. Kobe would literally kill Andrea Bargnani. He thought Smush Parker was too much of a ball hog, wait till the first time Bargnani did one of his lean in ball heaves…

    • Agreed.

      Maybe that’s what Bargnani needs, though: some tough love. Colangelo and every coach who has been here during his tenure has made excuses for him, babied him, coddled him, and continued to give him PT when he hasn’t earned it. When will management finally swallow their pride with this draft pick, acknowledge that he’s not a number-one caliber draft pick or offensive option, and fairly delegate minutes on this team?

      I thought Lowry would be the type of leader/alpha male on this team to come in, yell at AB when he made classic “Andrea” plays — stupid lean-ins trying to draw fouls, out of control drives, pull-up fade-away jumpers — and hold him accountable for his terrible defense. But I haven’t seen it. In fact, I’ve been surprised the trust Lowry showed in Bargs from the beginning, and has continued to show through his struggles. You know Kobe would have NUNADAT.

  13. Why not bring Bargani off the bench? I say we trade Jose and someone else for pau. Maybe a linus kleiza or ed davis.

    We start pau and bring bargani of the bench. He would be an awesome offense punch, and his mins will be limited thus not being such a huge defensive burden in crunch time.

    Another move i would do IS FIRE BC… his doesnt DESERVE to be president, these “teams” he keeps putting together are just not working. ITs time to GET talent. If we have to do this through the draft, so be it. THE BOBCATS ARE BETTER THEN US!!!! LAWD HAVE MERCY

  14. You guys know KNOTHING about basketball. Bargnani has been bad this season, but he’s still our BEST player. if you watch the other teams(Brooklyn ) plan to stop bargnani first second and third…he’s the guy they worry about, not derozan, not ed davis etc…so even if he’s not playing great, he’s drawing the other team’s best defensive big man and the rotations are worried about him…this free’s up other players…and his defense, while weak as far as rotations go, is still the BEST amongst the big men..Look at 82games.com…his couterparts are putting at a 13PER efficiency…15 is average…valancinous is giving up close to 20 PER…derozan close to 17…
    Look i agree he’s a been a dispointment this year, but he is the scapegoat for every loss and mistake on the team….Kleiza, Fields, Lucas, MCaguire have been absolute DISASTERS…we have no 3 to compete with every other team….basically playing 4 on 5 every night until Ross had a big game last night…thats been the major issue of the year, along with poor plays at the end of games, regressed, andrea’s slow start..

    • You’re right. We can’t trade Bargnani simply because he’s our “best” player. That’s a great reason not to trade someone.

      and…it’s also funny you claim other people know “knothing” about basketball. Bargnani isn’t even the best player anymore. Lowry instantly became our best player when we traded for him.

    • Absolutely AGREE with you. Raps have had to endure injuries at the three with Fields hurt & can’t rely on rookie T. Ross (YET) to make up the difference. There are 29 teams who would LOVE to have Andrea but for some reason people choose to jump on him. He spreads the floor & in fact if you go back to the one or two point losses Raps have had, Andrea has made a key rebound, block or stop in the final frame. I wish people would recognize how good he really is & see that once Raps are healthy, injured players come back & play TEAM DEFENSE Bargs is the one player who’ll put us over the top.

      For those of you who don’t believe me go back 6 years to the last time Raps were in the playoffs. ONLY ONE PLAYER INCREASED THEIR POINTS, REBOUNDS, ASSISTS & BLOCKS vs. NJ….. That’s right ANDREA BARGNANI.

      Based on Klow’s play I’d say he is playing hurt & Casey didn’t want him to make it worse last night. It’s not like Fields will be our savior when he returns BUT he’ll improve our defense.

      Should Raps hit the reset button so early? Well if so then why not trade Jose while his stock is high & get something good in exchange …. why not Tyreke Evans who could play 1,2 or 3 and can also defend.

      Just saying. BUT PLEASE people don’t just jump on Bargnani b/c this writer (and ppl like him/myself) understand the game & love our Raps. Trading Bargnani would result in us taking 5 years or more to recover!

      Be patient, Raps could just as easily be 12 – 3 but for one play or one ridiculous biased whistle. They’ll get over the hump & I believe it’ll be soon. Remember Jan/Feb features a ton of games at home vs. middle to low end teams. This is the EAST where a winning streak of 5 games in a row puts a team right back into contention.

      Coaches like Popovitch don’t just dole out complements and even he said the Raptors outplayed SAS for the majority of Sunday’s game. Looking at the game vs. Detroit DeMar had a sub par night but I didn’t see everyone jumping on him; meanwhile he didn’t get a ton of rebounds or assists. At least Bargnani got rebounds & played D even though his shot wasn’t falling Sunday. AND he came out last night & lit it up early. The loss in Houston CANNOT be blamed on him!

      The only thing I would say to Bargnani is DEMAND the ball, too often he is on fire & for some reason he gets passed up in the plays. This also falls on Casey, Klow, DD & Jose to GET HIM THE BALL. Bargs is smart enough to make the right play if he gets double teamed & get the ball into the open players hands.

      Personally, I think the BIG WIN is coming very soon which will put Raps over the top. I remember the season Memphis started out not so great then in one game Rudy Gay hit a game winning shot & all of a sudden the Grizz couldn’t lose. THAT was the season they went on to make the playoffs & knocked off San Antonio in seven games. Perhaps the Raps big win will come tonight in Memphis as they get over that hump to garner the big win that changes their momentum.

      Just my two cents; for what it’s worth.

      (TTOTambz/TamberlynsTipOff)

      • Go back 6 years…LOL…..check his cratering percentages over the last few seasons is my counter.

        whatever his warts are, so be it but and his “strenghts” have declined. He’s widly inefficient and puts in an incosistent effort. If 29 other teams want him, then BC should fleece them for a trade.

    • Bargniani being thought of as the “best” player is exactly why the Raptors are once again headed to the draft lottery! Every year is one excuse after the other. Some of my favs include, he’s young, he not used to the NBA game, he’s playing out of position, he’s injured, he needs to be the main guy, he is learning, big men need time to develop, he needs to put on muscle ETC. Did D Howard need time? How about Blake Griffin? Duncan? Anthony Davis? Hibbert? These guys are ALL-Stars in their first or second season! We’re waiting 7 years for this guy!

      With him as the cornerstone of the franchise you will be disappointed year after year. Think I’m wrong? Just look at the standings.

  15. Thats what i keep hearing about Lowry and i would have agreed for the first 3 games of the season….we have ONE win with him in our lineup…
    maybe move ed to 4 and bargs to the 3….we need to play our best players for the most time each game…giving minutes to kleiza and Mcgure who provided 13 minutes of NOTHING yesterday night is a waste…those minutes need to be allocated to Ed and terrence…

  16. Oh and for the record, it’s generally the point guards and shooting guards who are killing us and we all know the defensive deficiencies are generally at the hands of Jose. Raps need to decide IF keeping Jose who can provide few turnovers but garner assists is worth keeping him.

    YES Andrea has defensive lapses but so does EVERYONE on this team. If people are going to jump all over AB then also look at the defensive lapses by Jose (the most in my opinion), DeMar and even Kyle at times.

    The other point I wanted to make is if you looked at the past 5 games (prior to last nights Houston game) the Raps had improved on FG defense from 24th in the league to 6th and on 3 point defense from 30th to 3rd. ROME wasn’t built in a night & last season it took well into the 2nd half before the team was firing on all cylinders. With 8 new players on the team it will take some time especially since 3 of them are rookies.

    Looking forward, once T. Ross gets the defense down a little better having DeMar and Terrence run the wings is going to be exciting. With the daily growth of Jonas Valanciunas it’s also exciting to see how well he and Andrea will play off each other with Kyle manning the point. Since Jose has a good chemistry with Amir & Ed I like them off the bench with insertions of Kleiza when he is rolling, McGuire for defensive assignments, Gray when we need a big body & JLuc3 when we need 3′s.

    In looking back over several lost games remember: Opening night vs. Indy the Raps completely outplayed the Pacers but the refs would not give us the call in the 4th so we lost by 2 pts.

    In Dallas we had the game down to 2 points only to have the ref enter the time-out huddle and access a technical foul to Quincy Acy for standing the wrong way.

    Vs Utah the Raps had DOUBLE the rebounds/PIP but somehow Utah had gone to the line THIRTY SIX times to 16 just by the 3rd Quarter.

    We all know what happened vs. Charlotte when a rookie got the call (because it’s a feel good story to have the Bobcats winning) over AB.

    In Philly a well time technical foul by Doug Collins changed the momentum of the refs calls to ALL go in Philly’s favor & once again DeMar couldn’t buy a whistle.

    Ditto in Detroit when once again DeMar couldn’t buy a call & in the game.

    Vs. SAS we once again got nailed with the 5 sec count (remember LAL last year) that the refs never use. During the game Duncan had taken 6 & 7 secs repeatedly to get the ball in (I know b/c I was at the game screaming out 1 – 1,000, 2 – 1000). Even the block that counted as Duncan’s 2500 record breaking block showed in replay he fouled AB or the call that went off SAS but Duncan convinced the refs to give the ball to SAS or Pop’s ability to have the refs call a moving screen on JV when in fact Parker ran into JV. Ironically Lowry had the same thing occurring to him all game long with no calls.

    That’s just 7 games off the top of my head and of course we can’t blame all these losses on the refs BUT it doesn’t help that we garner ZERO respect from them. Albeit NBA TV has started to focus on these close losses more so lately so perhaps the refs will be careful to be a tad more fair in their doling out of whistles given the focus on the Raps of late. It all comes down to defense and I challenge anyone to not find a blown coverage or defensive error game in game out even by Miami, Memphis, OKC, LAC etc.. The bottom line is IT HAPPENS even by the best players.

    Moving forward what needs to happen is:

    The Raps need to learn from this experience & stay focused & play with energy on both ends of the floor for 4 quarters. Eventually when their overall numbers start to reflect their defensive effort they’ll garner more respect from the refs.

    Casey needs to take a page out of Doug Collins, Gregg Popovitch etc books & get in the faces of the refs when it’s obvious calls aren’t going the Raps way. A technical foul taken at the right time in the game can make a huge difference (like it did for both Philly/SAS) b/c it highlights to the league the refs are messing about. Casey tends to be more a gentleman on court trying to garner respect but at a certain point it’s time to put his foot down.

    Lowry is obviously playing hurt & one can only hope it’s something he can heal from while also playing. Fields/Anderson will hopefully not be too long returning from the DL specifically b/c at worst it offers two additional bodies for Casey to call upon for 5 minute stretches where he can say give me 5 good minutes. This allows him to be able to insert several different players who can provide 100% effort in: Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, Kleiza, Alan Anderson, Fields, Ross, Gray, McGuire, Acy & John Lucas to add into the mix of Lowry, Bargs, DeMar, Jose & JV. Like Chicago & Philly often do their bench provides effort in small bursts to out defend the opposition. This team is young enough to buy into that and Casey can then utilize his bench as needed.

    Bottom line, I don’t feel Raps need to trade Bargs but I do feel it’s not good to have both Jose & Bargs on the floor together which is why I always tend to lean towards trading Jose as Bargs offers much more than Calderon. I still would like to see a tough player like Tyreke Evans end up in Toronto because he can (& is proving it this past 5 games) get 20 pts 5 rebounds and 5 assists on any given night and he can defend. I’d rather have a player like Evans who can play the 1, 2 or 3 to complement DeMar, Lowry, Bargs & JV and who in a pinch can play the point.

    Even if we make no changes though I still firmly believe this team SHOULD be at a minimum 8 – 7 (and honestly they should be 10 – 5) but the gods & refs have deemed otherwise. There have only been 3 games this year the Raps weren’t in at all: OKC, Boston & Houston so relax.

    Listen this isn’t Los Angeles or New York there isn’t a reason for Raptor fans to start selling out the farm or demanding trades. The last time that happened we saw Vince Carter leave and we got NOTHING in return for him. NO, it’s time to support this team & cheer them on like Memphis and OKC fans did for their young teams who were a work in progress and who eventually got over the hump. It would be different if they weren’t trying or weren’t in the games BUT they ARE.

    This team will learn from the experience of these bitter losses and be better for it in the long run. I’m banking on it and so should you.

  17. Man those kicked raps a&& without bargnani huh! He gets blamed for everything, i’m sure raptor fans were blaming him when they got outrebounded by memphis even when he wasn’t playing…bargnani is the team BEST player, he’s the guy other teams worry about…he’s off to a bad start, but he can turn it around…the raps win with him…mark my words!

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