The first of two new trades I’ve passed successfully through the Trade Machine sees Bargnani moving to Minnesota for Derrick Williams & J.J. Barea. Williams, a swingman, was the second overall choice in the NBA draft of 2011, but thus far in his young career has not produced anything close to what would be expected from such a highly ranked collegian. Williams was named to the All-Rookie Second Team, but has regressed in his second season. When I saw him against the Raps, he looked tentative, as if his next mistake, no matter how trivial, would get him benched. He has slipped well down the Wolves’ depth chart, lost Coach Rick Adelman’s trust & is playing sparingly. One assumes he would welcome a change of team. J.J. Barea is a pint-sized Guard who plays with great heart. Think Kyle Lowry, & you’re very close. This player’s acquisition would make it very clear that Jose Calderon (or Lowry?) is well & truly available in trade for a team willing to step up.
It’s a risk to violate the “Never trade big for small” axiom with this trade, but let’s face it: Bargnani is the smallest big in the NBA. There is another large question mark for the Raps in this deal. Williams may be one more of Minnesota GM David Kahn’s failed draft picks. Jonny Flynn & Wesley Johnson are recent Kahn flop-selections, & he’s the GM who selected & then dumped Ty Lawson (which might turn out to be the biggest mistake of all). But if new surroundings can help Williams tap his undoubted potential, this deal could be a winner for both teams. Barea will help the Raps regardless, & Bargnani might enjoy the Euro-centric ‘Wolves. The Trade Machine projects almost no impact on either team.
In the NBA, GMs don’t trade players – they trade contracts. With that in mind, let’s send Andrea even further west, to the Utah Jazz. We’ll take back Paul Millsap, Master Rebounder, & Jamal Tinsley, Warm Body. This trade would be a huge win for the Raps. The Trade Machine says we’d gain 5 wins, while Utah would lose 4. So why would the Jazz bother? They already have the pleasant problem of a glut of talented big men (Jefferson, Favors, Kanter). Why replace one big (Millsap) with another (Bargnani)? Because AB is completely unlike any front court player they have currently. Their roster is stuffed with traditional close-to-the-basket types, players who grab rebounds & back their men down. AB is a shooting guard in an elongated form. He’s perfectly happy never being in the key, & when in rhythm can score a lot. Utah could give their junior bigs like Favors & Kanter more floor time to develop their considerable potential, while AB, a “Stretch-4″ would show opponents a look they may not like at all. Jamal Tinsley, in the deal for trade-rule dollar-matching purposes, is a useful backup at either Guard position.
Now let’s consider contracts. Both Tinsley’s & Millsap’s deals expire this season, so Utah is motivated to get something rather than nothing. AB’s deal has 2 more years at a reasonable $10M/season. Bryan Colangelo would have half a season to persuade Millsap he should pitch his tent in Toronto long-term. I’d love to have Paul on board; he’s Reggie Evans with considerable offensive skills. Whether Tinsley is offered another contract or not depends on his play, but is moot to this trade discussion.
There you have it, Raps fans. How about some feedback? In addition, try some trades yourself, & share them in the Comments.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.