First, let me say that I've enjoyed reading many of your posts as I've trolled this website on-off over the past two seasons. I think it's about time for me to jump in and joint the party! I know many have already discussed it, but now that AB is back, I figured I'd stir the pot (some more).
From the Raptors point of view, it's best that AB comes back healthy and playing well. To trade or not to trade is the question. The answer though, may not be that easy.
You first need to ask yourself, why do you want to trade AB? Most argue that the Raps play better without him as evident by Raps record with/without Bargnani. Others will point out that he is a low efficiency/high volume scorer, ball stopper, poor rebounder, average passer, average man-defender, and a poor help-defender. Some say he doesn't have the intangibles and hustle of an elite competitor. Others will point to his "bad-contract" and implication on cap-space. Some go further and envisoin him alongside Lowry/Derozan/Gay and picture a stagnant "perimeter-chuckers" offence.
Then you need to ask yourself, why keep AB? Arguments include the fact that the blame for the Raps early struggles should be diffused over an entire team rather than a single player. Some will remind us of 13-game AB of 2011-2012 season and that he is yet to tap into his "full-potential". That his potential is limited by what's going on above his collar bones. Many believe that he may be a potent offensive weapon in the "right-system". That he is a "unique talent", a 7 footer that can score inside-outside and create his own shot. Many argue that his "value" at this point of his career could not be any lower and any return for him would be minimal. Some will go as far as to say he can't be traded without giving up even more assets in the process due to his "bad-contract", the so called - addition by subtraction.
Just to be clear, I'm not agreeing nor disagreeing with the above, but simply summarizing the sentiment amongst the majority of Raptors-bloggers. My personal opinion is that AB's value should be maximized before the decision, to trade or not, is made. The Raptors don't have any "untouchable" player in a trade. Even the Raps most coveted asset, Valanciunas, is not truly untouchable (would you say no to JV for LeBron James?) The point is, there is not one Raptor I wouldn't trade if the return for the trade is of equal or better value, and that includes AB. So if you have an asset, why not optimize its value before you consider trading it? The concept of trading AB for the sake of trading him (addition by subtraction) is a tad foolish. I would much rather see AB come off the bench for 20-26 min/game (this point is key!) with a bigs rotation of JV/AJ/AB with occasional minutes for Gray. AB's defence would be tested against opposing team's bench and his offence would be welcomed off the bench; especially considering that Fields/Anderson/Acy all get minutes at the 4. AB's minutes may be expanded only if he is a positive contributor (again, this is key!)
One of four scenarios would then unfold in the next 3 weeks: (1) AB integrates well with the team and he embraces his new role becoming a reliable scoring big off the bench (Amare in NY) and he stays in a Raps uniform. (2) AB plays well off the bench, attracts better offers, and a "good-value" trade is made. (3) AB is no better than he was pre-injury, his value doesn't improve, no reasonable offer is made, and he stays in a Raps uniform in hopes he would improve his value by the end of the season (4) AB is no better and doesn't embrace his new role, becoming a "bad-locker room guy" and he is traded for the best of the bad offers.
Ideally, scenario (1) or (2) unfold, both hinge on the fact that he return healthy and plays well. Personally, I would prefer scenario (2) for the simple reason that I think I'm emotionally fatigued with the AB-era. To be fair to AB, in actuality its the BC-era that has been emotionally draining; unfortunately for AB, he's the face of it.
What do you think?