New Raptors GM to prioritize trading Andrea Bargnani

6/3/13 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - New Raptors GM to prioritize trading Andrea BargnaniRaptors power forward Andrea Bargnani was once a highly touted first overall pick, but he has become one of the most unwanted athletes in the city of Toronto. The seven-footer has shown plenty of scoring potential in the past, but his points per game (12.7) and field goal percentage (39.9) recently dipped down to their lowest marks since the 2007-08 season. In addition, Bargnani has posted embarrassing rebounding numbers (3.7 per game last season), even when you consider that he is more of a perimeter forward.

The Raptors will announce the hiring of their new general manager, Masai Ujiri, on Tuesday, and reports say that his first priority will be trading the former top draft pick. Former GM and current president Bryan Colangelo was handed the task of moving Bargnani as well, but failed to do so. The hurdles in trading the Italian big man include his injury history and recent regression in production, but most of all, his contract.

Bargnani has missed an average of 33 games per season over the past three years, and is set to make $10.75 million next season and $11.5 million in 2014-15. Bargnani will have the option to terminate his contract before its final year, but it is extremely unlikely that he would do that.

Colangelo was likely trying to get some value in return for Bargnani, which was expectedly an arduous task. However, there is speculation that Ujiri will ship Bargnani off to anyone willing to take him, even if the return is miniscule.

Bargnani gave Raptors fans some hope back in 2010-11 when he averaged 21.4 points per game, but he is now struggling mightily and will be 28 years old before the start of next season. Toronto is ready to give up on their draft bust, and we are likely to see him in a new uniform by the time next season begins. Ujiri's hope is that he will be able to move Bargnani by July 1.
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