The Raptors have been betting on Bargnani for seven years now, with few results to show for it. It seems an unwise bet that Bargnani will manage to raise his trade value while fans boo him on a nightly basis. For what it is worth, Bargnani is shooting just 30% from the floor at home this year compared to 47% on the road. The crowd’s jeers have not motivated him positively, to say the least.
The bigger question in all of this is whether or not Telfair was worth the price it took to get him to Toronto. While Hamed Haddadi was never going to see the inside of a Raptors uniform, dealing away what is likely to be a high second-round pick (the lowest between Toronto’s and Sacramento’s picks that Toronto owns) may come back to bite the club. Good scouting and the new cap rules have put a new kind of premium on second-round picks, and when one considers that Portland got Eric Maynor for cap space, it makes the price for Telfair seem a little higher than it needed to be. Phoenix was basically on a mission to dump Telfair so it’s surprising that Toronto needed a pick in addition to Haddadi to push that deal through. It’s hardly backbreaking, it’s just surprising.
No real surprise that the move GM Bryan Colangelo was oft-expected to make, the trade of Andrea Bargnani, didn’t materialize.
The second-round pick involved in the Telfair deal is the lesser of Toronto or Sacramento’s 2014 second, but Toronto’s pick is protected 30-36 meaning if both teams pick in that range, Phoenix does not receive a pick. Instead, the Suns would only have the right to swap seconds with the Raptors in 2015.
The problem with this trade is that Sebastian will become a free-agent at the end of this season, meaning he can sign elsewhere once his contract expires, if he so chooses. What was the point of sending away a second-round draft pick for a two-month rental of a guard who will only see the court in short spurts anyways? I don’t see Telfair re-signing, but that’s just me.
Now, history has shown us that Raptors management has never been able to translate second-rounders into anything meaningful. When the notable standouts are P.J. Tucker and Roko Ukic, you know you’re in trouble. So Raptors fans are justified in believing that these late picks hold little to no value. However, other teams have found value late in the draft. While you’re unlikely to hit a home run and snag a star player, rotation players are available.
In deciding not to drop him for a bag of balls, Bryan Colangelo has taken an enormous risk. Make no mistake — trading away his signature Toronto acquisition had become the easy way out for the general manager. The depressingly obvious animus to Bargnani has grown so malignant, no return would have been judged too small by the fan base. Not immediately, at least. But Colangelo remains determined that if Bargnani no longer fits into the Raptor template, he’s still worth something. The problem is getting the player to play as if he is.
There have been missteps, moves Colangelo would probably like to re-do, the inability to properly read the whole Chris Bosh scenario at a time when the Raptors were headed to a 50-win season. There are detractors and there are plenty of reasons why Colangelo’s tenure in Toronto should be over once this season expires. But when one cuts through all the politics and rhetoric and objectively looks at this unit, one can actually see a light at the end of a tunnel that once seemed ominous.
Haddadi himself is cautiously optimistic about the deal, despite being moved back to a city in which he will be the only Persian. Sources say Haddadi may be working on a emo remix of a classic A Flock of Seagulls hit dubbed “Iran: So Far Away…. ;(“. He also expressed a modicum of displeasure concerning this blog for its treatment of him.
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