Some days, it's good to be alive.

Some days, it’s good to be alive. For extensive analysis and grades on all the deals, check out the ESPN Insider article.

Raptors: A
Masai Ujiri was quiet on draft night, when the Raptors were the only team not to make a pick. The new general manager’s effort to clean up the Toronto roster begins in earnest with this move. After a frustrating 2012-13 season, Bargnani had to go. The only question was how bad the return would be for the Raptors. This move saves them $7.6 million in salary in 2014-15, provided they waive Camby (whose contract is guaranteed for about a million), and possibly even more if Camby simply decides to retire rather than reporting.

For Toronto to accomplish that kind of savings and also get three draft picks out of the deal is almost unthinkable. There’s plenty more work ahead for Ujiri in undoing Bryan Colangelo’s mistakes, but this is an ideal start.

New York: D-
Here’s the disturbing thing about this deal: The 2013-14 SCHOENE projections suggest Bargnani will be less effective on a per-minute basis than the stretch big man he’s replacing at Madison Square Garden, Novak. Bargnani’s superior ability to create shots made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2006 and landed him a $50 million extension three years later, but Novak’s willingness to efficiently play a smaller role has made him just as valuable to his teams.

If the Knicks wanted to swap Novak (and Camby and Richardson, to make the cap math work) for Bargnani, fine. The extra money — about $3.3 million in salary this year and $7.6 million in 2014-15, both of which will increase the team’s luxury-tax payments — obviously isn’t a big deal to New York, and the Knicks actually created more cap space for when they’ll next be under the cap in 2015 by shedding the final year of Novak’s deal. Now only Raymond Felton has a non-rookie contract that extends beyond 2015 (a player option) in New York.

I’m not crazy about the fit. Bargnani’s ability to play center, a big part of his additional value over Novak, is problematic because the Knicks have such poor defenders at power forward in Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. A Bargnani-Stoudemire frontcourt would be an open invitation to opponents to drive to the rim, and putting Anthony alongside them might be the closest we ever get to replicating a player “on fire,” “NBA Jam”-style, in real life.

But the real problem here is that New York had to give up draft picks for the right to make a questionable swap. Over the next four years, the Knicks now hold the minimum possible two picks — their own first-rounders in 2015 and 2017. New York can always buy back the second-round picks, but giving up a first-rounder in this deal is inexplicable given the Knicks were doing Toronto a financial favor. They had the leverage, and it’s unclear why they didn’t act like it.

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  • Bendit

    Grunwald was saying “Happy Canada Day”.

  • Jamshid

    “There’s plenty more work ahead for Ujiri in undoing Bryan Colangelo’s mistakes, but this is an ideal start.”

    I love this quote and I could not agree more with it. Next on Ujiri’s list should be Demar and his outrages contract. He needs to move him as well and get some picks or smaller contract that are easier to move. Fields should be the next guy out of the door as well.

    Once again, things are looking up in Raptor Land and I am so happy that finally the era of BC is finished in Toronto.

    • While Fields’ contract obviously is bad, I wouldn’t mind holding onto him. He’s got no value, and if he gets his shot back, he could end up being a very valuable role player. I’d much rather see Gay and his contract shipped out.

      • WhiteVegas

        If the Bargs deal sets the tone for the kind of return value Masai can get for our guys, then I imagine the haul we could get for Derozan would be pretty significant. He took our most unmovable contract and effortlessly moved it almost immediately for a great return. I’m open to trading anyone on the team depending on what it brings back. Ujiri has me very excited for the future. There are plenty more incompetent or desperate GM’s for Masai to take advantage of.

    • RaptorsFan

      Demars contract isn’t that bad when you consider he’s young and has improved every season. Remember when everyone was bitching about Amir contract? That is pretty much Demar right now and everyone will say the contract is ok or cheap in a couple years.

      • I defended the Amir signing right from the start. DeRozan’s I’ve never thought was defendable. And while DeRozan has improved, those improvements have been fairly marginal, quite frankly.

  • Duncan

    i hope we keep demar

    • raptorspoo

      Keep Ross or keep Demar. Can’t build on both of them.

      I’d rather keep Ross for rebuilding sake.

      That Demar for Bledsoe was a sweet rumor.

  • Marz

    The ESPN insider is a little harsh. I mean, if we look at the Golden State offer of David Lee, which we turned down, would you say David Lee is worth Camby/Novak + picks? Because I’d say he’s worth maybe a little more.

    • Lee is owed $44 million over the next 3 years and is a worse interior defender than Bargnani is. I can see only three or four teams in the league willing to take on that contract. And Toronto certainly isn’t one of them.

      • Marz

        Sure we can list negatives, we can also list positives, “Lee had one of his best NBA seasons, averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds and making the Western Conference All-Star team.” He was a big part of the offense up until he went down and crashes the boards hard.

        • Unfortunately his negatives outweigh his positives for most teams. Including Golden State, who are looking to trade him. There was a reason that Andrew Bogut was more valuable to Golden State in the playoffs than Lee. If you watched the playoffs, the one lesson that was impossible to miss was that players that are liabilities at one end of the court will hurt your team in the playoffs, especially the deeper you get. If a player will only really hep you during the regular season, is it worth paying him as much as Lee is getting paid?

          • Marz

            My point was comparing Lee to Bargnani in terms of value. They both don’t play defense, but one was an all star power forward last season while the other had the worst season of his career.

            So the question is: Do you think Lee is worth more or less than Camby/Novak + picks? I maintain that he is worth more, regardless of his defensive liability.

            • Guy

              In a scenario where all things are equal, Lee could be worth more. But for the situation the Raptors are currently in, the last thing they need is to replace Bargnani with another poor defending big with a contract worse than ABs. For TO, I believe shaving some cash off the payroll and those draft picks are much more valuable. My two cents.

            • A player’s value is dependant on a lot of factors. Bargnani had the value he did because Toronto found a team that had no problem taking on his contract and valued scoring. Obviously, if Lee and Bargnani had the same contract, obviously Lee would have far more value. But they don’t have the same contract. Lee has an even worse contract that Bargnani. And with New York now out of the trading picture, how many other teams are there that wouldn’t have a problem absorbing Lee’s contract and with his lack of defense?

              For Toronto, Lee has less value than Bargnani because of his contract. For another team, that might not be the case.

  • FAQ

    Camby, Novak, Richardson … are all C.R.A.P. …. you heard it here first. Flush ’em..!!!