So with Pau Gasol now injured and out for at least six weeks, pretty much destroying Bryan Colangelo’s interest in him (for him win now means win NOW), Mark Stein is reporting that the Raptors and Bulls are discussing a swap of Andrea Bargnani and Carlos Boozer, basically exchanging two players no one wants.
Every Raptor fan understands the desire behind getting rid of Andrea Bargnani. I seem to recall talking about it from time to time. The tipping point for the organization seemed to be when Bargnani came out of the gate this year looking like the same guy who’d played most of the previous 385 games instead of the mythical figure who played well for “13 games” last year. Why they were expecting the “13 games” Bargnani is symbolic of everything that has been wrong with the Colangelo tenure, but there you have it.
Suffice is to say, the Raptors seem to be FINALLY ready to part with him. A little too late, in my opinion. I wrote an open letter to him last spring begging for him to trade him while he still had some trade value. Of course, I’d been asking for years to do it, but I saw this past offseason as the point of no return. And apparently it was.
So you must think I’m overjoyed at the news of a possible trade.
When Utah offered Carlos Boozer a 6 year, $70 million contract, it wasn’t long before they regretted doing so, and he became the subject of constant trade rumours. If you had predicted that Boozer would have lasted his entire contract in Utah, no one would have believed you.
Then Chicago, ripe with loads of cap room and after being spurned by all the free agents they coveted, offered Boozer a 5 year, $75 million contract. And they almost immediately regretted it.
It’s not that Boozer is a bad player. He’s not. He’s actually an excellent low post scorer, despite his lack of size for his position, and a very good rebounder. It’s just he sometimes struggles with consistency and has never been a good defender.
If Boozer were making less money, it’s possible that Chicago wouldn’t be looking to get rid of his contract. But they are. In fact, if they can’t trade him, it’s a good bet they will amnesty him this summer. It says a lot when a team would rather pay you to play elsewhere than on their team.
And now apparently Colangelo wants him.
Why am I not surprised?
When Isiah Thomas was in charge of the Knicks, he brought in overpriced talent teams didn’t want anymore, in hopes that it could combine, somehow, into something special. At one point, he was paying Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry, three offensively talented, but flawed players, a total of $40 million a year, which who would lead them to 33 wins.
If Colangelo is successful in trading for Boozer, next season, he will be paying Boozer, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, three offensively talented, but flawed players, a total of $43.5 million next season.
There are some people who will try to convince you that the money doesn’t matter. That if MLSE is willing to pay, then Colangelo has to do what he can to bring in the talent.
And Boozer is definitely an upgrade, as was Gay.
But the Knicks took years to dig themselves out of the hole Isiah dug them in with all the bad contracts he brought it.
And if, as I fully expect, the Raptors don’t excel with a core of Gay, Boozer, DeRozan and Lowry (four players who need the ball to be effective, and none of whom will ever make an All Defensive team), what will the Raptors have to take back in order to get out from the mountain of those contracts?
It’s also a LOT more difficult to improve your team when it’s full of bad contracts. Especially if you’re luxury tax territory.
And with the Raptors biggest problems coming on the defensive end, why are they trying to get yet another player who will demand the ball?
It seems to me that it would make more sense to simply amnesty Bargnani this summer, if a better deal isn’t found. It’s better than getting another good, but not great, massively overpaid player who his last two teams spent most of their time trying to unload.