Bargnani wowing the crowd at Madison Square Garden

Bargnani wowing the crowd at Madison Square Garden

Raptors fans who have longed for the end of The Bargnani Era are surely enjoying themselves a fine Canada Day this year, thanks to Masai Ujiri and the New YoLOLrk Knicks taking the seven-foot Italian off of Toronto’s hands.

In the immediate adrenaline rush of last night’s reported deal, I threw some quick thoughts up that you can still indulge in here. But on the morning after THE Trade, with a half-night’s sleep to collect and organize some more thoughts over, I thought I’d post a more in-depth version of my thoughts in a format similar to my usual “Thoughts On the Game” posts.

On that note, here you go…

- First and foremost, the important thing to remember is that while Marc Spears reported late last night that the deal has been completed and agreed upon, nothing becomes official until the league moratorium is lifted on July 10. Factor in the fact that the deal didn’t get league approval on Sunday night and that some minor tinkering reportedly needs to be done on the Knicks’ side of the trade, and I’d simply remind you all to be cautiously optimistic for now. It sounds like both teams are eager to get this thing done and that it eventually becoming official is just a formality, but still, with the Tyson Chandler and Matt Barnes fiascoes still kind of fresh in our minds, maybe just hold off on the party for now.

- The deal itself. Again, in case you’re still unsure about the specifics, the deal reportedly agreed to in principle on Sunday sees Andrea Bargnani head to New York, while Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, a 2016 first round pick and two future second round picks come to Toronto. The protection level of the picks and which other minimum salary type player, if any, might have to come to Toronto to make the deal work are still not known.

- I was thinking of doing a full on retrospective of Andrea Bargnani’s time in Toronto, and maybe I still will at some point this summer, but in general, too many words have already been written here over the years about the man Bryan Colangelo infamously dubbed “the enigma of all enigmas.” As I discussed last night on twitter, the fact that a player of Bargnani’s immense talents leaving town is met with such a response of “good riddance” from fans is quite the indictment of Andrea’s effort level over these last seven years.

I’ll always remain convinced that the guy had/has the talents to be a perennial NBA All-Star, and yes, there is a very real possibility that he burns the Raptors here and there as a divisional foe, but at some point, you have to understand and accept the fact that it just wasn’t going to come together for him here.

- As for why on earth the Knicks would give up a couple of decent contracts and THREE draft picks for Bargnani’s services, many media people seem to see it as New York’s crosstown response to Brooklyn acquiring Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry.


Just let that marinate in your mind for a few seconds – the Knicks apparently saw Brooklyn loading up with a couple of aging Hall of Famers and responded with “Oh yeah, well we’re getting Bargnani! Take that Prokhorov!” I’m sure the Nets are just shaking in their boots.

The other theory is that Bargnani has played some of his best basketball against the Knicks and specifically at Madison Square Garden, but then you take a look at the numbers and realize that they’re fine, but not exactly eye popping. In 24 career games against the Knicks, Bargnani has averaged 15.4 points and 5.0 rebounds on 45 per cent shooting and an impressive 39.8 per cent shooting from behind the arc.

The real answer as to why the Knicks would trade two players and three picks for Andrea Bargnani is actually pretty simple though. Because they’re the Knicks.

- If you’re wondering how the two players being traded to Toronto reacted to the news, Steve Novak seems pretty jacked while Marcus Camby had this to say, via his agent, to ESPN:

“I have nothing but positive things to say about the city of Toronto and its great fans, having been drafted by the Raptors 17 years ago. Given that my goal at this point in my career is to have a shot at a championship, however, I’ll have to evaluate my options going forward. I’ve enjoyed a great career and under the right circumstances I hope to continue making an impact in the league.”

Translation? Camby won’t be the type of guy who refuses to report to T.O. or anything bush league like that, but he obviously would rather play for a contender at 39-years-old and I just don’t see him even suiting up for a single game for the Raptors. Whether it’s via a buyout, trade or something else, expect Masai Ujiri to cut ties with Camby in some capacity. In the event that the 1996 Raptors draft pick does actually stick around, he’s owed $4,383,773 next season and $4,177,208 in 2014-15, but his 2014-15 salary is not fully guaranteed.

- Camby probably won’t be around come October, any other player potentially included later won’t be of significant consequence and the three draft picks are impossible to speculate on right now, so if you want to break this down from a basketball perspective, the question is what do you get when you replace Andrea Bargnani with Steve Novak?

No one is going to argue that Novak is the more talented player or even the more complete basketball player, but here are the cold hard facts: the Raptors replaced an inconsistent, enigmatic, expensive talent who had dropped below Amir Johsnon and Jonas Valanciunas on the depth chart with a consistent floor stretching big man who knows his role is to be a three-point specialist and who excels at that role. Bargnani has $22,250,000 remaining on his contract over the next two years (though he does have an early termination option after next season), while Novak is owed just $10,945,949 total over the next three seasons – an average of about $3.65 million per year.

Want more facts? Check out the three-point shooting statistics of Novak and Bargnani from this past season, the last three years and over their entire seven-year NBA careers…

Player 2012-13 Last three seasons Careers (2006/07-2012/13)
Steve Novak 351 3PA, 42.5% 679 3PA, 45.4% 1146 3PA, 43.3%
Andrea Bargnani 123 3PA, 30.9% 461 3PA, 32.3% 1606 3PA, 36.1%

The Raptors slotted in a legitimate, somewhat cheap three-point specialist to replace an overpaid talent who had reduced himself to a three-point specialist despite the fact that his three-point shot had gone AWOL.

Anything else?

- If you want to know what the difference is between Masai Ujiri and Bryan Colangelo, consider this: Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Warriors offered up David Lee to the Raptors in exchange for Bargnani. We can’t know for certain what Colangelo would have done if presented with such an offer, but my guess would be that he would have accepted, and led by an empty stats All-Star making nearly $15 million per year for the next three seasons (Lee), the Raptors would have dug their heels in even deeper as a perennial capped out, taxed 6-8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Ujiri, on the other hand, obviously refused the offer, bided his time, and waited for an offer that while lower in “star” appeal, makes more sense for the franchise both on the court and off.

- While it’s still not completely clear whether the Raptors are looking to get back into the playoffs in 2013 or if Masai Ujiri is content to join the growing list of teams ready to go Diggin’ For Wiggins, one thing that is certain is that this trade gives Ujiri options and some needed financial flexibility. Because Ujiri was able to mind-ninja the Knicks in a Bargnani deal and therefore still has the amnesty option in his back pocket, I think we can all assume that Linas Kleiza will be a victim of said amnesty provision.

Assuming that this trade goes through, that Camby is off the books after next season and that Kleiza will be amnestied (I realize that I’m making a lot of assumptions), plus with John Lucas’ team option being declined, Ujiri may save nearly $9 million in 2013-14 while freeing up about $6 million worth of cap space next summer. And it looks like he’ll do that without surrendering any of the talent the Raptors hope to build upon in the future.

We don’t know how things will go from here (and I will remind you that Bryan Colangelo finding a taker for Rafael Araujo early in his Raptors tenure was also seen as miraculous), but so far so good, Masai. And yes, it’s safe to assume that Ujiri is discount-double-checking right now…

(All salary figures are courtesy of the awesome Mark Deeks at



Why not? You’d have to assume that Richardson’s deal will likely be for the veteran’s minimum, and only one of the three years is guaranteed.

Comments (50)

  1. Great read, it will be interesting to see what direction ujiri wants to go but whichever it is, I think everyone should be in support of. The fact that he got back 3 picks, 3pt specialist, aging vet that could be on the move for an overpaid enigma as you call it, it’s a tremendous deal. People assumed that we would get back someone with a terrible contract but ujiri worked his magic and got a solid deal. I personally think we should try to create a winning atmosphere and get in the playoffs and when Wiggins is a free agent, let’s sign him then because he’ll be more of a polished player then anyways.

  2. I thought I was dreaming when I initially heard Bargnani had been swapped out for Novak, 3 draft picks and a basically non-reporting Cotton Camby. I listen to a ton of Knicks games and I’ve always found Novak to be a completely useful player. Here’s hoping Ujiri keeps a couple of the draft picks and turns Camby and a pick into another useful role player for the team.

    Two years ago, I thought Bargnani still had a future as a scoring option at least. The fact that I am so happy about this trade pretty much says it all about how he’s been exposed completely since.

    I’m guessing the Knicks next move to counter Brooklyn’s Big Two move is to sign Stephen Jackson. I believe he still has a role in this league and it can only be destroying the Knicks from the inside out.

  3. Looks like we got Q-Rich thrown into the deal at 3 years for it to work

  4. When I found out about this I had to check multiple sources to confirm. I can’t believe Ujiri got this done so quickly.

    I like the trade. Raptors get a legitimate 3pt shooter who will create some space, which they have lacked for a while.

  5. Everything on espn is only reporting a first round pick and players. No more mention of the two second round picks.

  6. i dont understand how you can say david lee is an empty stat all star ? 18 and 11 must not be good enough in the nba ? both career highs for him this yr .

    • Defence is half the game and David Lee plays NONE. Anything he’s giving you on offence or on the glass, he’s giving up on the defensive end.

      • i see your point but golden state overall has garbage defence. they probobly wanted bogut to alter and block shots and have david lee boxout and grabb d boards . any chance the raps can afford carl landry now with the moves ? i wouldn mind him or wright coming to town

      • I don’t get you sometimes, Joseph, ripping a known commodity like Lee into shreds yet still continuing to tout Bargnani’s supposed potential even after his failure to be successful in a situation where every move BC made was made with his development in mind.

        • I don’t get you sometimes PBI, ripping the man whom you follow every single day. He said nothing to deserve your comment. You my friend are a cry baby.

        • And sorry PBI, but just to be clear, are you saying that Bargnani had every chance to be successful here, playing for this wonderful franchise that made the playoffs once in the 7 years he was here? Just checking… Countless times over that span he was made the number one option on this team, and that to me sounds like an organisation that was completely lost, and trying to turn Bargs into a player that he never was capable of being.

      • David Lee would be a commodity if basketball was only offense. He’s an absolute empty jersey on defense and blames his teammates like a douche whenever he screws up. It was utterly ridiculous seeing him in the All-Star game.

  7. The ESPN NYC spin job.

    “Bargnani, 27, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft. He scored a career-high 21.4 points per game in 2010-11 and averaged a career-best 6.2 boards in 2009-10. ”

    “On paper, the Knicks would receive a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki. Bargnani, a 7-footer, is one of the most versatile power forwards in the game, as he can score inside and outside — in the post, spotting up or off the dribble.”

    “They would get a stud marksman in Bargnani”

    Wow. Glad ESPN NYC is as hyped to have him coming as many Raps fans are to see him going.

    • Glad they’re not our scouts.

      • I assume that’s a sell-job to their fans… I’m guessing that a headline of “7 year pro finally looking to improve in his 8th NBA season,” wouldn’t cut it for them

    • I saw that as well and chuckled. I think the perception around Bargnani is he’s a good 3-point shooter, mainly because he does so little of anything else, but he’s not even good at that. Calling him a poor man’s Nowitzki is like calling the Peterborough bingo hall a poor man’s Vegas.

  8. masai please dont trade demar

  9. I still can’t believe we got something back for Bargs that doesn’t hurt the team. Glad I don’t have to watch him run from one three point line to the other repeatedly, without ever actually crossing it, anymore.

  10. I wonder if he will be able to find any hearty and delicious Primo pasta and sauce at New York’s finest restaurants?…and speaking of which, instead of booing him when he makes his return (literally the only tradition this team has) I think everyone should chant PRI-MO PAS-TA!

  11. everyone complaints about how demar is not worth his contract, just look at what the pelicans are offering tyreke evans, i’d take demar over evans any day, rumour has it 4 years 44-50 million, and unlike tyreke demar has gotten better each season, i really hope they dont end up trading demar.

    • I honestly feel like Demar is a better asset than Gay at this point. Rudy isnt getting any younger and his numbers are unspectacular when you compare them to his salary. DeRozan’s only going to get better from here. I understand he isnt perfect at this point but hes still young.

      • Why not keep both. If you look back on NBA TV even Kenny Smith said that this would be one of the most atheletic wing duos in the league. Rudy has sorted out his vision issues so lets see how he performs and Demar may actually come back with a decent 3 point shot (hoping around 33-35%). If its not working we can decide to trade rudy then. If not we can keep him and let his Giant salary expire and based on our salary structure for 2015-2016 we would have 20million in salary commited. We could do our own big three if we so desired.

        • How many years are people going to wait for DD to improve? And no, getting more playing time because of his salary is not improving.

          • He’s 23. They’ll wait 4-5 more seasons before being able to definitively say he is what he is.

  12. Bargnani is going to explode; the problem was the 2010 election with Ford as mayor. Check the stats. How can you produce with a doofus as the leader of the city?

  13. Andrea Bargnani‏@AndreaBargnani14m
    I am thrilled to become a New York Knick and look forward to becoming a part of their storied franchise!!

  14. Bargs finally got what he wanted. He stopped playing last year, and when you think about it, can you blame him? Look at the direction this team went in from the time they drafted him until now. Exactly. What direction? Too many different coaches, different players, different styles of play… He wants to win just like every other player in the league, so I can see how he got fed up here in TO (shout out to VC and CB) The beginning of last season was a complete disaster. Who took most of the blame when hundreds of other factors were involved? The media and fans went too far. So can you really blame Bargs for saying “fuck you TO”? Now you guys are laughing at the knicks for what they gave up to get him. A few years ago teams drew up their defence around stopping Bargnani, and he was a nightmare to stop on most nights. Teams obviously remember that, and I think there was a lot more interest in him than ppl think. Is he a perfect player? No. Will he help the Knicks? Yup.

    • I thought I was the only one who felt this way, but I’m glad to hear otherwise. Lest we forget what Barney’s actually capable of, when motivated. At the same time I don’t agree with you entirely, because at the end of the day he’s getting a big FAT pay cheque to play the game of basketball and to be a lil sucky-baby about it all isn’t very professional of him (reminds me of Vince Carter at the tail end of his era in Toronto). Which leaves me to question “Bologna’s” work ethic, though it speaks more on MLSE’s work culture to have all these allstar/superstar athletes come and go, most of which leave on bad terms by “checking out” early on the team (ie: Vince, Bosh, now Bargnani just to name a few). Culture in any work place starts at the top and as evidenced by all the failures in most recent years within the MLSE organization, most notably TFC, the Leafs up until this past season and the Raptors in the last half decade… But I feel Ujiri & Leiweke are very quickly changing all that, which is refreshing to say the least.

      Personally I think the move was necessary and a good thing for “Primo Pasta & Sowce” and the Raptors alike. My concern is that he’s guna get to NYC and rip it up (like we’ve witnessed him do in spurts here in the past, so he’s definitely capable of it). If you think about it, most defenses are going to be focused in on Melo 90% of the time anyways and Bargnani is what he is… A 3 point shooting big man. Essentially a two-guard in a C/PF’s body so his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting touch is what’s going to benefit their offense the most. I anticipate Bargnani’s numbers to increase from this past season. I doubt his role will be to rebound, cause as we all know he doesn’t do that or play defense, which is fine because they’ll have Tyson Chandler inside to take care of that.
      In closing, good riddance “il mago”… See you on the flipside!?

      • What is he “capable of when motivated”? Not much as far as I can tell.

        He has no recognizable accomplishments since being in the league for 7 years, outside of a statistically decent 2011 where his team still went nowhere.

        Why people are concerned about him, I don’t understand. He’s not going to the Knicks and become a monster now. He is who he is.

        He is a player that lays down when he wants to and doesn’t work at improving his craft.

        So what if he has ‘physical tools’ Most players in the NBA do.

        • Sleepz, U da man.

          Anyone who still believes in Bargs should go watch the leafs and keep thinking the cup is within reach lol

        • sleepz: What is he “capable of when motivated”?

          Yes, meaning when he wants to he can be a presence on the floor. Essentially, it’s on him to perform. Allow me to reitirate the point I made: “Bargnani is what he is… A 3 point shooting big man. Essentially a two-guard in a C/PF’s body… with the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting”. That’s it, that’s all.

          sleepz: “So what if he has ‘physical tools’ Most players in the NBA do.”
          Not sure where you got that ‘quote’ from because I never said that. But yeah, I agree with you. Any player who makes it to the NBA has the physical tools, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the league.

          sleepz: He is a player that lays down when he wants to and doesn’t work at improving his craft.

          Right. But I think you forgot the fact that he had that calf injury and the team (Raptors) told him not to play ANY basketball in the off season so that he can rest it for the upcoming (now previous) NBA season. So if a player doesn’t practice and/or work on his game, he’s obviously not going to improve. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

          In no way am I defending or jusitifying Bargnani’s lack of production this year. I just wanted to point out a few facts, that’s all. This obviously isn’t the norm and I’m sure I’ll get bashed for it but I still think Bargnani has enough in him to make some impact on the offensive end for the Knicks. Not many 7 footers can shoot long range shots and put the ball on the floor to dribble-drive to the hole(outside of Dirk maybe) Not that I am comparing the two, simply pointing out the fact that Barney has that skill set. Past that, there isn’t much to his game. He doesn’t play defense, he doesn’t rebound and he definitely doesn’t hustle.

  15. Nice try Sly…but I don’t think so!
    “He stopped playing last year, and when you think about it, can you blame him?”.
    I have 10 million reasons why he shouldn’t have stopped playing, so yes WE can blame him. In “sports”, if a player cannot perform due to injury, number of injuries, age or mental illness, etc – people can understand for those reasons. But when a sports player stops giving a shit, shows this through media interviews, daily body language while in the public eye and purposely playing during NBA court time, like he didn’t care, didn’t even barely run, he treated it like it was just a hobby – that is bull shit to the paying customer and die-hard fans plus it was disrespectful…disrespectful to the other players, coaches, management, the media and the team as a whole. Most importantly it should be disrespectful to himself and it ain’t! and wasn’t – shame on that loser!…professional, my ass!
    Tell me Sly – for the numerous coaches (and you said management but BC has been there the whole time since AB’s drafting) and player changes that effected his focus into losing and caring – why didn’t these things effect the play of anyone else on the team…ever? Why didn’t Vince give up whne he wanted to be traded? Why didn’t he stop playing and mope around until he was trade too? You mentioned Vince in the light of some hero and then compared him to Bargnani…HUGE difference. Vince didn’t STOP PLYING when he asked to be traded, he never gave up on the team or himself at the same time and slugged around till the trade happen. He played hard the sport he loved and played hard for the job he was paid too and acted like a professional – Bargnani just flat out took his ball and went home to do nothing but collected his cheques….so, “Fuck T.O”…No Sly “Doug” Smith…Fuck Bargnani and his supporters like you!

    • What I’m saying is he wanted out last year, and then the media jumped on him like vultures (just the media doing their jobs). Then he comes back from injury, and the fans on his home court are booing him. That kind of treatment doesn’t exactly inspire a player (that wants to be traded in the first place) to “give a shit”. His body language during interviews and in the public eye has nothing to do with this. He’s always been that way. I’m not justifying his play last year. What I’m trying to say is if you are say the Knicks, and you consider last year a wash, then Bargnani might be worth the gamble, contrary to what most of you think. Why do you keep changing your name youngjames? Pretty sad that you have to do that.

      • Dude, you’re wrong, just stop. Seriousy, just stop.

        Bargnani is a very bad basketball player. “When motivated,” “he can be good” “for stretches…” I mean, seriously. He sucks. What about the evidence that 90% of the time, he’s one of the least valuable contributors in the sport of basketball?

        Can someone remind me of the Einstein definition of true insanity??

        • I love how you can go out and flat out say “You’re wrong!”. That’s the beauty about this, everyone thinks they’re right, when in reality no one is. The true definition of insanity is telling people they are wrong when you can’t prove it. So the Knicks are wrong. So far, there’s the knicks and I that are wrong. bahahahaha Fool

          • … only I can prove that Bargnani is terrible, by looking at these things called numbers, advanced and otherwise, and by using these things called eyes. Worst rebound rate among players over 6’10″ playing 25 minutes plus. 32% 3 point shooter. Never shot 45% from the field ever in his life. Has next to no understanding of basic defensive concepts, including help defense and rotations. Those are facts. They prove he sucks. So there you go buddy!

    • “Jimmie” I think you’ve completed overlooked the fact that VC did quit on the Raptors. In his last couple of games he was telling the opposing teams our plays and mentally checked out, which translated into his physical play. He stopped being as flashy, he didn’t explode to the basket and dunk on people’s heads like he was doing up until that point. Only after a reported called him out on it, did he come back with an “explosive” performance to shut those ney-sayer/critics up, but that was for one game.

      • Ha, yeah, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen Carter’s debacle of a final season held up as an example of someone playing hard!

  16. Re-posting from last thread:

    (because I want ppl to actually try to reason with me – I literally have no idea how we pulled this off)


    I mean, seriously, what the hell else can you say. No shit, if the Raps were able to simply unload AB for NOTHING (and not have to take on anything at the same time), it would have been great. But they get a first round pick, two second rounders, a legitimate 3 point shooting role player, and an old as balls but still somewhat potentially useful Marcus Camby (no matter what happens with him). I mean, da fuck?!

    Please, can someone explain, or attempt to explain how Uriji did this? This move alone, I mean, I am literally hyperventilating with excitement. How did he do this?

    Okay, step back and think about that haul: an old big, a useful role player, and THREE picks (one first rounder). That is for an all-star player, at worst. Again, YOU SEE THOSE CONDITIONS AND YOU THINK HOLY SHIT THEY GOT SOMEONE GOOD GOING THE OTHER WAY!

    but no… instead the raps get that for giving up bargnani? I just don’t understand, but lord am I happy.

    I challenge ANYONE to point out a more lopsided trade not involving hall of fame level players in the last 10 years. Seriously. I will happily admit it if one can provide an example.

    At the end of the day, even if I, like many raps fans, are maybe overly negative toward Bargnani, okay, but objectively, this guy is simply not good. Maybe not one of the worst (certainly least useful) players in the league, as I seriously think, but straight up bad.


    • New York aren’t going to miss the two players they shipped out. Bargnani will have a good season with the Knicks. Why? Well, he will finally have a clearly defined role for the first time in his career. Oh, and he’s also playing with an all-star for the first time. (Sure, CB was an all-star, but he’s nowhere near as talented as Melo) Ujiri has a lot of work to do. Sit back, have a drink, and relax.

      • Telling people to relax while continually stalking them in the blog comments, what a character.

        Also, not sure why any Raptors fan should care about how Bargnani performs with the Knicks. Not our problem anymore, go apologize for Bargnani somewhere else.

        • Stalking? Last time I checked it was an open discussion. Why would any Raptors fan care how he performs with the Knicks? Are you serious? I’m pretty sure most of us will be checking to see how he’s doing. Believe it or not, some of us actually want him to do well.

  17. Wow. Now I just feel bad for you.

    • I feel bad for PBI as well. Bargnani is so bad that he makes 10 mil a year, and the Knicks just took on that contract for the next two years. You’re a bozo.

      • No I feel bad for you because you are a sad, pathetic person who resorted to using an incredibly immature homophobic slur to try to “insult” someone, a slur which has since been smartly deleted by this blog.

        • I’m glad you’ve figured me out douche bag. The last thing I am is homophobic. I wasn’t thinking when I wrote that, and when I say someone is “gay”, I don’t mean it in the traditional sense. Anyway, I don’t take this seriously, unlike a lot of crybabies on here.

  18. The raptors need to do a full blown rebuild.


    Step 1: Trade Gay & Lowry to Mo-town for the expiring contracts of Charlie V & Rodney Stuckey and get either a pick and or Brandon Knight.

    Step 2: Lose every game possible while allowing Demar T-Ross and Jonas to take every shot.

    Step 3: If a team gives us a legit offer for Demar we take it so T-Ross gets more minutes at the 2 spot.

    And watch the lotto ball percentage increase.

    Hope you guys agree

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