Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Trades That Make (Sixer) Sense: Andrea Bargnani

Andrea Bargnani needs a team around him who can do certain things that he cannot.

For instance, Bargnani is a terrible overall rebounder despite being 7 feet tall. He’s not great on defensive rotations and he’s not a guy to dump the ball into in the post on every possession. You also will need someone to protect the rim, because he’s not capable of it himself. He has a lot of holes for someone that I’m think should be targeted. But his scoring cannot be ignored, because 7 footers who provide 20+ points per game are few and far between. Bargnani, before his injury (which he should be returning from soon), was scoring a career high 23 points per game with improved shooting numbers and defense. But his injuries, which have crept up for the second time in two seasons, make him a risk.

His team, the Toronto Raptors, are in the midst of a rebuilding effort that is essentially a waiting game right now. They lucked into Jonas Valanciunas in the draft, as Cleveland reversed course, hoping to get their rebuilding process started early (and picked Canadian Tristan Thompson). Valanciunas should be in the NBA next year, and for now the Raptors are playing a waiting game until that time comes. Meanwhile, Thompson has struggled a bit in Cleveland, though he should be good in time (but not as good as Jonas looks to be).

By the time Valanciunas arrives, Bargnani will be 27 with three years left on his contract, coming off two injury-hampered seasons. While they have said they plan on building around the two foreign bigs, it may be wise for them to start completely fresh next season, especially if they can get young players with high ceilings. I think the Sixers can provide some for the Raptors to build around.

Unlike some of the other trades we have proposed, this isn’t complicated much by salaries. In fact, only three players are exchanged:

Sixers Receive: Raptors Receive:
Andrea Bargnani Thaddeus Young
Nikola Vucevic

This trade cannot be performed until March 14th, I believe, because Young cannot be moved until 3 months after he signed his contract (which, if I remember correctly, was his signing date). The trade machine screen can be found here.

Thaddeus Young and Nikola Vucevic fit in line more with the Raptors rebuilding efforts than Bargs – Young is only 23, Vooch 21. If you believe Young’s shooting is greatly improved (to an extent, which it is to an extent), then you may believe he can still be a full-time small forward. He’s under team control at a fairly reasonable salary, and if he can play on the perimeter he’s a steal at his salary. Vooch is only 21 and would be added to a cast of bigs including the aforementioned Valanciunas, Ed Davis, and Amir Johnson as guys to build around in Toronto.

Meanwhile, the Sixers take a risk that could reap big rewards in getting Bargnani without messing too much with their rotation aside from him. They take on almost no additional salary in the deal, which could be big for the future, and they add a scorer of a caliber they do not currently have. They also have the defense to mitigate his weaknesses – the scheme and the surrounding players (who are all good defenders). The trade hurts probably the Sixers’ biggest strength aside from defense (bench play), but their starting five should drastically improve. And if 2010-2011 Bargnani shows up, the trade could hurt the team.

But if the first half from Bargnani was for real, and if he can stay healthy, this could be a huge steal at a relatively low cost.

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Tags: Andrea Bargnani Nikola Vucevic Thaddeus Young

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