The anticipated Andrea Bargnani move never came to fruition and Alan Anderson, perhaps the team’s most valuable trade asset, will also be able to call the Toronto Raptors home for the rest of the NBA season.
The NBA’s trade deadline passed on Thursday afternoon with not a roar from the league’s only Canadian franchise but more of a whimper with the team reportedly agreeing to a trade with the Phoenix Suns that will land the Raptors journeyman backup point guard Sebastian Telfair.
While a number of media outlets were reporting that the deal was done, the Raptors have yet to make any official announcement.
While the said move will make coach Dwane Casey happy as he was pining for a third backcourt option to help alleviate some of the playing pressure off Kyle Lowry and John Lucas, it was not exactly a blockbuster move either.
Grabbing the 27-year-old Telfair, who will make $1.5-million this season before become an unrestricted free agent at the year’s end, was not really an expensive proposition for the Raptors.
Telfair, a former first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2004 draft, has bounced around with seven teams during his nine-year NBA career, this season averaging six points, 2.5 assists and 17.3 minutes in 46 games (two starts) with the Suns.
Going back to Phoenix is Hamed Haddadi, the backup centre the Raptors received along with Rudy Gay in last month’s big trade with the Memphis Grizzlies and who never reported to Toronto.
The Raptors also had to surrender their second-round pick in the upcoming draft.
What this all signals is that Colangelo is essentially satisfied with the recent progress the team has shown after a dismal start. Now it will be up to Casey to wring the most out of a 22-33 outfit that was bolstered at the end of January with the addition of sniper Gay.
Toronto’s next game is Friday night against the New York Knicks at the Air Canada Centre.
Casey’s biggest challenge for the rest of the season will be to try to motivate Bargnani, the underachieving 7-foot power forward who has looked lost in the six games he has played since returning from a 26-game layoff recovering from an injured arm.
No longer in the starting lineup, Bargnani has looked tentative and has averaged just seven points, two rebounds and 21.7 minutes of playing time since he has come back.
Those are meager numbers for the first-overall pick of the 2006 draft who is slated to make $10.1-million this year and $11.5-million in 2013-14.
Colangelo hinted earlier this year that perhaps Bargnani’s time in Toronto had “run its course” and that maybe it was time to change his address.
But then the 7-footer tore ligaments in his right elbow, shelving him for about two months, and his trade value plummeted to even lower levels.
It will now be up to Casey to try to find a way to get Bargnani moving, if only to try to showcase him to the rest of the league and perhaps facilitate a trade this coming off-season.
In Toronto’s last game Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Raptors held tough against one of the NBA’s better units before falling, 88-82, snapping a five-game Toronto winning streak.
It was a tough outing for Gay who was looking to make a lasting impression playing against his former mates for the first time. He did, but for all the wrong reasons.
Gay scored just 13 points and committed two of his game-high five turnovers at a crucial juncture in the fourth quarter when the Raptors were threatening the Grizzlies for the lead.
Gay needed 15 shots to collect his 13 points, which is not a great ratio, but he has always been known as a shoot-first type of a player.
During his nine games in Toronto, Gay’s scoring and shots-per-game average out to the same number – 20.2.
DeMar DeRozan has averaged 17.4 points over the same time span but has taken far fewer field goals (14.9) to help him post that figure.
Rookie Terrence Ross has been the biggest loser in terms of playing time since Gay’s arrival, his minutes tumbling from an average of 17. 9 minutes to 10.5.