With less than 48 hours before the trade deadline, the Toronto Raptors likely already made their big move for the season by acquiring forward Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies. That hasn't stopped general manager Bryan Colangelo from working the phones, though, as Toronto tries to make a run for the postseason.
Now that the Raptors have a cornerstone to build around in Gay and some obvious young assets in Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas, Colangelo seems determined to fill in the cracks with the right role players.
The Raptors' outlook
When Toronto acquired Gay and center Hamed Haddadi last month in the three-team deal that shipped out point guard Jose Calderon and young big man Ed Davis, the franchise effectively committed to building a roster that features Gay as the team's leading scorer.
Though the merits of Gay as a franchise player are certainly worth considering, Toronto has him around on a max contract through the 2014-15 season, so they've basically gone all-in with the former UConn star. Whether or not he can be the best player on a contender, the Raptors will soon find out.
The situation at hand sees Toronto with a long-term core of Gay, DeRozan, Lowry, Valanciunas and former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani, who appears to be the obvious odd man out on a roster that could use some added physicality and defensive presence despite its recent success with Gay.
As good as Toronto has been since acquiring Gay, winning six of eight games, it's worth wondering if the team's recent success is more timing and luck than actual improvement, as SB Nation's Raptors blog, Raptors HQ, writes.
Andrea Bargnani on his way out?
Since being selected with the first overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Bargnani has had a relatively volatile career in Toronto. At times, he's shown the potential to be an elite stretch four in this league, but more frequently, he's an inefficient perimeter scorer that fails to take proper advantage of his size and length.
As such, it probably shouldn't be particularly surprising that the Raptors are seriously considering dealing Bargnani, particularly when he's one of the highest-paid players on a roster that's clearly been changing its direction in recent months.
The more obvious issue with Bargnani is whether there's a team out there willing to give up value for the Italian big man. A miserable rebounder for a 7-footer, his most obvious value comes as a scorer, but he's shooting just 41 percent from the field this season, and his true shooting percentage (49.4) is at career-worst levels.
Signed to make roughly $22 million combined during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, Bargnani is also a rather expensive player, which complicates any possible deal. Rumors have tied him to the Bulls, Bobcats, 76ers and Lakers, but one report describes a lack of urgency from the Raptors to complete a deal this week.
So what's to be expected?
Frankly, after the Gay trade, expecting the Raptors to make another major deal probably isn't reasonable. Bargnani clearly is being bandied about by a few teams, but getting another franchise to take on his costly long-term deal is probably a tad more complicated than some people are letting on.
For the most part, it appears that teams trying to acquire Bargnani have simply offered different players on sizable deals, such as Chicago's Carlos Boozer and Charlotte's Ben Gordon. In that case, Toronto may prefer to simply amnesty Bargnani this summer, an option that wouldn't exist for any players the Raptors acquire in trade.