Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks isn’t as Bad as You Think
The New York Knicks’ front office executives are up to their old tricks again. Just when Knick fans were settling in for a completely uneventful summer, James Dolan and sidekick Glen Grunwald decided to bust a move and send the fans into a panic.
The internet has been buzzing with angry NYK fans crying out in pain over this now-confirmed trade for Andrea Bargnani. On the surface, the boys in blue and orange have brought in an oft-injured, overpaid malcontent who is colloquially thought of as the (very) poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki – but if you look closely at this trade, silver linings quickly start to appear.
First, examine what was given up. The Knicks somehow managed to convince the Toronto Raptors to take back Steve Novak and Marcus Camby. As in, the same Steve Novak who can’t put the ball on the floor without a turnover, who’s only move is literally “catch, pump fake, shoot, clang off the rim”, and who severely regressed in 2012-13 after a pretty good 2011-12 campaign. Want to know what happened? Teams figured out that Novak can’t shoot if he’s guarded, can’t dribble, can’t pass, and that a cardbord cutout would likely be a better man-to-man defender. After that, Novak was lucky to see the floor for 5 minutes a game this past season. Let’s also not forget his contract – $15 million for 4 years of spot up shooting. Yeah, that’s a real loss.
Now on to Marcus Camby. The 40 year-old with a 3-year contract for $12.5 million, who played maybe a grand total of 40 minutes this entire past season. While he’s had an illustrious career, at this point Camby would be better suited as an extra on “The Walking Dead” than he would as an NBA rotation player. There really isn’t a whole lot more to say about him.
What does Bargnani bring to the table in return for these two players? The former No. 1 pick is a 7’0” stretch-four who has a career average of 15.2 points per game, shoots 36% from beyond the arc and 43% from the field, can score in the post, hit 80% of his free throws and even give you the occasional rebound. All while being forced to be the Raptors’ number one option. Playing behind the league’s best scorer in Carmelo Anthony should free up some opportunities for him and relieve the pressure off his shoulders. No, he is not a good defender, but he was traded for STEVE NOVAK. Defense was never in the equation here.
Bargnani will allow the Knicks to have a new consistent scoring option in their front court – something they simply haven’t had with the injuries to Amar’e Stoudemire. Bargnani may have his own dubious injury history, but there is no denying that having another big man in the rotation that can score will be a major plus for the Knicks, if only from a depth perspective. On a good day, Bargnani will be able to give the Knicks a solid 20+ points off the bench if played in the right sets. Fun fact: in 2012-13, Steve Novak played in 81 games to Bargnani’s 25 games, and played less than twice the minutes of the italian despite appearing in four times the number of games. AB also happens to be 27, while Novak is 30.
So for the money – the Knicks rid themselves of three more years of paying a combined $9 million to Camby and Novak, and instead now have two years of paying Bargnani $11.5 million. There is nothing negative about that. As an added bonus, his contract will come off the books at the same time as Amar’e, Carmelo, and Tyson Chandler’s contracts, meaning the summer of 2015 will be a free-agent bonanza in New York.
For those of you still decrying this trade on the basis of the first-round pick the Knicks included in the deal, allow JockStrap Journal to set your fears at ease. The pick is New York’s 2016 first rounder, which the Denver Nuggets have the right to swap for if they wish, a’la the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2010. So in one scenario, that pick is at the bottom of a draft that nobody has a way of projecting for, and in the other case it is a lottery pick that would have been handed to another team ANYWAY. All to get a roster upgrade on a win-now team. Where is the harm in this Knicks fans?
Will Andrea Bargnani lead the Knicks to a championship? No. Is this trade a positive thing for an aging roster desperately trying to improve their prospects going forward? Absolutely.