NBA Trade Rumors: Toronto Raptors move Andrea Bargnani to Utah Jazz for Paul Millsap?

As the NBA trade deadline of February 21 edges ever closer, general managers start to soften their demands for players they are determined to move. It’s human nature to want to sell high, and to over-value your players while under-valuing everyone else’s. [20-second timeout: in Toronto, this delusional state of mind even has a name: Blue and White Disease, because the brains trust of the Maple Leafs has been particularly afflicted, and the city is into its fifth decade without a Stanley Cup.]

Paul Millsap, the rugged undersized rebounder of the Jazz, has been on the block for some time. The front court in Salt Lake City is extremely crowded, with talented young players hanging from the rafters. Millsap’s contract expires this season, and, like our previous trade candidate Josh Smith, Paul will command a hefty raise. I’m quite surprised he hasn’t been traded sooner, which causes me to wonder if Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor has been stricken with Blue and White. There’s also rumblings of a difference of opinion in Utah as to whether Millsap should be retained, and Al Jefferson shipped out. If Bryan Colangelo could somehow bring Big Al to Toronto in trade, then sign him to a long-term deal, I swear I’ll write a “BC for Executive of the Year” post; that’s how highly I think of Jefferson.

January 25, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani (7) dribbles around Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s stay with Millsap, who is what Quincy Acy aspires to be when he dreams. The Trade Machine says a Millsap-for-Bargnani works straight up, but gives a huge edge in forecasted wins to the Raps. That’s hardly surprising considering Millsap’s excellent PER of 20.7 compared to AB’s 12.3.  The superficial analysis shows Utah giving up a cheaper yet far more valuable player – why would they do the deal? Remember: in the NBA, players aren’t traded, contracts are. Utah is understandably concerned that Millsap can and will walk away at season’s end for no return. Bargnani, despite being a big man going to a team with plenty already, doesn’t play like a typical seven-footer. Utah has lots of players to clog up the middle of the lane and score in the low post; what they need is a shooter. If Utah learned how to play inside-out, or drive and kick, and Bargnani received lots of open looks as a result, the trade might look brilliant for the Jazz.

The Raps would have the rest of this season to test-drive Millsap, and he them. Paul would provide immediate help for our long-shot playoff drive. If romance blooms, Paul will sign on, or he may test the market. Either way, we’re out from under Bargnani’s contract.

This deal has a better vibe for me than the Josh Smith one, largely because I believe our chances of re-signing Millsap are greater. What do you think, Rapture Nation? Get the dialogue started by dropping a Comment.

Brian Boake is a co-editor 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.

Topics: Al Jefferson, Andrea Bargnani, Paul Millsap, Toronto Raptors, Trade Deadline, Trade Rumors, Utah Jazz

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  • zach

    As a jazz fan…heck no. Bad deal all the way. Why give up our valuable cap space next year for an overpaid, barely average player. You have to consider both sides before making a trade. The Jazz would be better off letting him go for nothing.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Zach: It’s good to hear from a Jazz fan. I did take their needs into account, when I wrote about the Jazz playing inside-out to take advantage of Bargnani’s shooting. If by some chance this deal happens, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what he can do in the right environment. Andrea is even a better defender than he’s given credit for, at least 1 on 1. His help defense is poor. Thanks for commenting.

  • troy

    this trade makes zero sense. jazz unlike in years past, have shooters (hayward, foye, and mo williams) jazz don’t need another big….AB’s contract is garbage, his D is garbage, he’s playing awful…should i keep going? at least be realistic my friend…this idea is more unrealistic then millsap for brooks and humphries.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Troy: I’ve watched Bargnani since he arrived in the Big Smoke. He’s been a disappointment of epic proportions this season, but he’s had some very good years too. It pains me to think of what a tumble he’s taken since his brilliant start last year, prior to his injury. He’s still young, and will help somebody.
      This trade makes more than zero sense.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • troy

        this trade (like all of the others i’ve heard so far) would be completely lopsided…the jazz just wouldn’t do it. i don’t really see the jazz moving al or paul unless it’s for a projected high draft pick or packaging one of them with a pick for a difference-maker (ei granger/lowry). you are undervaluing millsap which the front office of the jazz won’t do. now, that being said…i could see a millsap + burks + GSW 1st pick for lowry. that would make a lot more sense.

  • help me i’m on welfare

    Everybody must stop watching what the trade machine projects for wins/losses. BC must convince another GM that Bargnani will thrive in a new environment/system and is worth taking a chance on. It will be hard to convince Utah to take on AB’s contract though because of how many years he has left. It is more likely that he trades a bad contract for a bad contract. Boozer is expensive, but because of his contract it is possible, and he is an upgrade over Bargnani in our system. He is tough and he is a winner. The teams he has played for won games, maybe not championships but they have won games. The Ilyasova trade is possible but is he a 3 or 4….not sure about that. Regardless he is a better defeder and rebounder and a reliable shooter. Josh Smith would be awesome on the Raps but I think that is a pipe dream.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi: The trade machine projects wins/losses based on PER. I don’t pay a lot of attention to it, but it can be interesting.
      I think Josh Smith in Toronto is a pipe dream also, but it’s possible, and I feel an obligation to at least consider it. When I said in my post that the deal was better than it first looked – it’s true for me. When I started researching this potential deal, I fully expected to conclude the whole idea was nonsense, but it really isn’t.

  • help me i’m on welfare

    How about Marcin Gortat (2 yrs left just over 7 mil) and Kendall Marshall (4 yrs at 1.9 mil and 5.5 PER) for AB?

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi: I suspect BC would grab that deal with both hands. Gortat can play right now; Marshall is a few years away, but it’s always good to have depth at guard. Well done.

  • help me i’m on welfare

    Okay, I got a trade Danny Ferry might make. Smith for AB and Terrance Ross. The deal would have to be contingent on Smith signing an extension (which would probably be a max deal). I would even throw in a 2014 2nd round or 2015 1st (top 10 protected) pick. Anyone like that?

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hey: You’re doing good work. I’ll take a longer look at your deals tomorrow. At first blush, I’d say No to any deal which includes Ross. But I promise to keep an open mind.
      “Speak” to you later.

    • disqus_Dq2pY75Kil

      You must be joking!! Actually, I agree. Ferry would make that trade. EVERY GM would, except BC here in T.O. Ross’s right arm is worth more than Smith and all his baggage.

      • help me i’m on welfare

        You really need to watch Smith play. He a guaranteed 18 and 8 (on a bad night). His athleticism, length and youth are perfect for this team. I really like Ross but his impact won’t really be felt for a while to come. He can dunk but we have a lot of that already. He isn’t even a consistent NBA shooter yet (not that he won’t become one). I will take Smith w/ an extension and be a serious contender in the East next year.

        • veshan

          athleticism?

          RUDY GAY!!!! i think smith has a lot of overlapping skills and 100 times more the baggage and bad attitude!!

          • help me i’m on welfare

            This the NBA not the NHL, every player comes with “baggage” and attitude is something we are sorely lacking.

  • matt

    I’m a Jazz fan and will be glad to weigh in. First things first, Paul is great and you would love him. Second, I’d rather you take Jefferson than Paul. Al will command more on the open market and we have a lot of cheaper young bigs. That being said, I would trade for Bargnani for Millsap only if Marvin Williams would be included somehow and either no other player or an expiring deal was returned. We’re trying to free up a maximum amount of cap space for next year and Marvin has a player option available next year. We don’t have much else on the books. Obviously, since you guys don’t have the ability to absorb that, a third team would have to agree to take him. Anyway, I’ve always liked Bargnani and think he could be like Okur was for us–a solid 2nd or 3rd scoring option who frees up space for people down low, but doesn’t rebound or defend well. Is that correct?

    • troy

      yeah, ok…we are trying to free up cap space but we should take on another big, his awful play, and his awful contract? that makes no sense. i don’t care if we get rid of one year of marvin williams, it still makes no sense cuz we take back an extra year and more money with AB.
      note to people out there…jazz are trying to free up room for young bigs, not take another one on…jazz have shooters…jazz want cap room for next year so won’t take on AB…millsap is GOOD and our front office won’t move him for garbage!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Matt: Thanks for your lengthy & thoughtful comment. I hate to be a drag, but I’d say there’s zero chance of our GM being interested in Marvin Williams. Is there any third team that would like him? It’s hard to imagine. He’s a career underachiever.
      Okur was a better player than Bargnani – a tough defender who could shoot from outside. Andrea can score if he has enough space. He’s potentially the world’s biggest small forward. Defensively he’s a C+ 1 on 1, but not much otherwise. Your young big men could mask a lot of his shortcomings if he learned to feed his man into traffic.
      Rebounding is definitely not his forte. He’s usually too far away from the basket to have any impact.
      Stay in touch, please.

    • veshan

      never thought of the Okur comparison and although A.B and Okur are very different players. I can definitely see A.B having that same type of effect. I think many people have short term memory and dont realize last year before the injury A.B was one of the more effective bigs in the east averaging 20 pts. he is a great offense of threat and underrated passer. (weak defense)

      my only question why Jefferson over Paul? Jefferson is phenomenal i am a huge fan of him.

      • Newmarket_Brian

        Hi veshan & matt: I agree with veshan’s question. Matt, why would you give up Jefferson over Millsap? Please let us know. Thx.

        • Grant Oxenrider

          As a Jazz fan I’ll chime in on this! Al Jefferson is a better trade candidate because he makes the team weak. THe jazz give up way more points when he is on the floor per 100 possesions, He is a ball hog most the time, he has no defense and lets alot of points go in the paint, lazy lazy D! Sometimes he plays good all around but its rare. Sure he can score but he just lacks on effort everywhere else. Yeah he grabs boards but what he gives up on D is way more crippling than his offense provides( kanter favors can both rebound as well with out giving up D.. He needs to be paired with a defensive beast to work right. It looks much better when he plays with favors. When Kanter and Favors are on the floor the paint is shut down completely and not many can score consistently on them. They lack a bit on Offfense but they hold thier own especially with scoring weapons like burks, hayward, mo ,foye. I Fav and Kan can put up buckets just not as efficently and consistently as jefferson. But they have a lot of growing to do and jefferson is holding them back! Games jefferson doesnt play the jazz play great. Dont get me wrong I love jefferson but his lack of effort on D makes him the most tradeable.

          • Grant Oxenrider

            and we dont want bargs unless a draft pick and something decent comes with

          • Newmarket_Brian

            Hi Grant: Another Jazz fan checks in! I like it. You’re the second one who has suggested that the loss of Al Jefferson would not be a disaster. You guys have the luxury of a terrific collection of young big men, so losing Al won’t hurt very much.
            I appreciate the insight on Al’s weak D. We don’t have a “defensive beast” on the roster, although Jonas Valanciunas is trending that way. Your second comment, about wanting a draft pick along with Bargnani as part of any trade, is highly unlikely. For one thing, we don’t have our first for June’s draft; it went to Houston for Kyle Lowry. I can’t see Bryan Colangelo trading the 2014 pick as well. Financially, Big Al to the Raps for Bargnani and Landry Fields works. Whether that help the Jazz or not is difficult for my eyes to determine. What do you think?

          • Newmarket_Brian

            Hi Grant: I hope you’re OK with receiving a hat tip from me on my next post, as you and Matt have given me detailed and thoughtful reasons why Big Al might be an appropriate trade target for the Raps.
            Thanks much for commenting, and please stay in touch.

        • mattreedah

          Sure. Al will command in the range of 15 million per year at the end of this season and Paul about 10 million per year. Al is arguably the better player (and i think so too) but not worth THAT much more to us, especially when we will probably have extensions for Favors, Kanter, and Hayward due on the back end of the contract. So, in order not lose Al for nothing and thinking he walks anyway, I’d probably do the AB deal for Jefferson. About Al’s defense: yes, he struggles on the pick and roll. You will need someone who can mask that. On Paul, since I think the org believes they can keep long-term for cheaper, I still don’t think Paul straight up for AB is fair to us the way AB is playing these days–without something extra like a third team taking on Marvin’s deal or us getting a draft pick. However, it could happen if behind the scenes the Jazz don’t think they can resign Paul. Gives you more leverage.

          • Newmarket_Brian

            H Matt: Excellent – very illuminating. I’d like to give you and Grant [below] a hat tip in my next post, if that’s OK. I think I can make a good case for going after Al.
            Thanks much.

  • Greg Hall

    If this deal happened I would certainly not be disappointed in the slightest being a Raptors fan, but I can’t see Utah making this trade, if I’m wrong here I’ll gladly eat crow and be happy for the acquisition however I believe the Humpfries and Brooks deal provides more value to Utah (although not a very good deal for them either) as I’m sure they are actively looking for more.

  • Austin

    As a Jazz fan I hope this trade doesn’t happen unless AB has the skill set to run at the 3. I don’t understand the logic of trading a big for a big when we already have too many already. The Jazz need a PG, a prototypical PG at that. That Jazz have run pretty much the same system for 25 years, although Corbin has put in his wrinkles, but it’s the same philosophy. The problem that the Jazz have had is that since the retirement of Stockton we’ve have had PG’s such as D-Will (scorer), D. Harris (scorer), M. Williams (scorer) and even Arroyo was a better shooter than passer for the most part. With the Jazz system and the high volume of bigs the Jazz need a PG who can pass and D up. We finally have some outside scoring threats such as Foye, G.H. and occasionally Burks. The Jazz need that floor general who is pass first score second because with Favors, Jefferson (and/or Millsap) and eventually Kanter the PG position won’t be required to put up 20+ a night. So, if you have a PG that fits this description trade on my good friend.

    As for why the Jazz would rather trade A.J. over Millsap? I believe that the Jazz organization takes great pride in drafting and raising great talent in which other big market teams just go out and buy, I’m looking at you Lakers! This is why I strongly believe that Sloan is a far better coach than Phil Jackson, but that topic is for another day. Getting back to Millsap over A.J., Millsap who the Jazz drafted mid 2nd round has that old school no time for drama and bring your lunch pail to work mentality that every Jazz fan loves and sadly misses. With Kanter and Favors showing glimpses of that old school scrap and bang style, the Jazz are so close to getting back to that old winning formula and that missing piece is that Stockton type of PG. I know Stock isn’t coming through that Energy Solutions Arena tunnel anytime soon, unless David Stockton starts stepping it up for the Zags, but any PG that can pass to the block and play D will do.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Austin: I think I’m developing a bromance for you Jazz fans! You’re knowledgeable and passionate about your team.
      The Raps can’t help you in your quest for a PG. We recently traded away the best one we’ve ever had. Jose Calderon is sorely missed, & I’ve just posted a theory on how we can get him back to Toronto. I’m sure you’d like Stockton back – who wouldn’t? He was a treat to watch – smart, tough, great passer…all the tools.

      Well, I’m convinced – watch for another Jazz-Raps trade proposal very soon.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    All I am reading are dumb comments from hating trolls that know nothing about Andrea Bargnarni. Most of these foolish comment do not even deserve to be eventaken seriously, becuaes they are made by complete know nothings. Thus here is asolid analysis from someone who ACTUALLY KNOWS WHHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT!!

    For starter trading AB for Millywould not make the Raptors any better because they lose a major matchup strength in Bargnarni–a crafty 7 footer that can stretch the floor and score at will almost anywhere on the court. Milsap is four inches shorter and does not nearly have the offensive repitiore that Andrea provides. As a 6′ 8″ PF, his range is limited and defensively he gives up too much in size for it to be considred a good deal.

    Say what you want about him, but Andrea simply offer too much over Milsap in terms of size, length and ability to make it a worthwhile trade. Should Bargnani be traded? Yes, definately,because he has become less of a factor offensively with the addition of Ruday Gay. However, trading him for a player that is four inches shorter and not nearly the offensive reptiore is simply bad basketball plain and simple.

    • Austin

      Disclaimer= “I am a Jazz fan and do not know that much about Raptors basketball.”
      But…Jeffrey…come on man. Not all of us are “know nothings.”. I will admit that I truly do not know much about Raptors basketball, but the fact that your claim implies that I and other Jazz fans know nothing about Jazz basketball is insulting my friend. Honestly, there are 29 other teams that I wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing the ins and outs of, but when it comes to the Jazz, I can go, as Lionel Richie’s jerry curl once said “All night long.”
      Look, the stats state that A.B. and Millsap came in the league the same year. Millsap has played about 100 more games than A.B.. Paul’s career average, (4 of those years spent as a back up to Boozer mind you and I don’t know if A.B. has started his whole career or not) stands at 12.4 ppg and 7.1 rpg. A.B. career average is 15.4 ppg and 3.9 rpg. This year they are averaging about the same minutes per at 30.4 for Paul and 30.8 for A.B.. Paul is at 15.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg as A.B. is at 14.8 ppg and 4.9 rpg. So, statically Paul has put up slightly better numbers even with all the deficiencies that you’ve thrown on Millsap)Look, I agree with the fact that I don’t know much about A.B.. That has alot to do with the fact that here in California, we don’t get alot of Raptors games unless they play the Kings or the Warriors. That being said, could A,B, run at the 3?
      With regards to Millsap, I don’t completely agree with your assessment. It was this kind of assessments which allowed Paul to drop to the Jazz at the 17th pick in the 2nd round. I would like to think that there are at least ten to fifteen teams who would love to have taken a player of Millsaps caliber higher in the 2nd round or even late in the first. Say what you want about him, but Paul is a beast on the boards and I am concerned that you’ve devalued Millsaps offensive skill set. I’ve watched Paul over the years (as other Jazz fans have) and seen him grow up from just being a banger who’s rebounding skill earned him minutes to being a 4 who can run at the 3 at times. He has developed a reliable 15 to 20 foot jump shot, hell he even can drain a 3 with some consistency (view Utah vs. Atl.). If we had A.B. on the Jazz roster instead of Millsap, the issue would still be the same. The issue is we need a PG and the best way to obtain one is to trade one of our bigs. I believe, as most Jazz fans do, that we need a true passing and defensive PG…preferably under the age of 30. So, I’m not bagging on A.B., he’s just not what we need. Thanks for the time man, have a good night.

    • Raptors18

      Bargnani wont even be a third option on the raptors why are u talking offense when were a defensive team, idc if he’s 6 inches smaller, can the man rebound yes, can he defend yes can andrea NO! I put 6’8 quincy acy on befor i do bargnani, sam mitchell said the same thing he never wanted to play the guy! Hes a joke of a draft pick we got kwame brown’d just accept it trade him and move on i feel its the last thing holding this team back!

  • raptor#1

    if raptors could get josh smith or howard then toronto would be unstopable!!!!!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi: I just got back from the Memphis game. We need an banger – Zach Randolph killed us.
      Thanks for commenting.

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