With crosstown and division rivals the Brooklyn Nets shaking up their core with the acquisitions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the New York Knicks made their first big move of the off-season in trading veterans Steve Novak and Marcus Camby to the Toronto Raptors for their much-maligned center/foward hybrid Andrea Bargnani.
My initial reaction was one of disgust. After last season, where we saw literally every big on the roster fall due to nagging injuries, the last thing the squad needed was another injury-plagued 7-footer. And in Bargnani’s case, why pick up a big man who doesn’t rebound well (averaging just four over his seven-year career) and is coming off his worst year last season? Bargnani played just 35 games due to season-ending elbow surgery.
But the more I thought about it, the better I felt. Make no mistake, I’m not happy, but Bargnani can’t be any worse than what we got from Novak and Camby last year. Novak’s shooting went down and defensively he was a huge liability on every play. Camby couldn’t stay healthy for any stretch of the season to justify the multi-year contract he was sitting on. It remains to be seen if Bargnani can remain healthy, but at least we get a guy who can space the floor and create his own shot (that’s huge in preventing the offensive stagnation that plagued the team). And while his contract ugly at first glance ($23 million over the next two years), Bargnani be off the books like everyone else in 2015 when the Knicks can blow up the team if needed.
The Raptors will also get Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first round pick, and two second rounders (2014, 2017). It’s an ok deal, but only if Bargnani can be reliable enough to contribute 12-15 points a night. It would seem like a given based on his career, but we all know players all of a sudden like to turn into complete trash when they come to New York.
Will the change to a winning culture and a no-nonsense coach make Bargnani a valued contributor and a crowd favorite in New York City? Us Knicks fans can only hope so (and pray this isn’t the last big off-season move from NY…).[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzazsJESZa8&feature=youtube_gdata_player]