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New York Knicks Agree to Trade for Andrea Bargnani

by Photo of Scott Davis

The Knicks made the first big splash of the offseason, trading for the former number one overall pick.

New York Knicks Agree to Trade for Andrea Bargnani

In a surprising move that has been officially agreed upon, but not yet completed, the New York Knicks will acquire Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks sent Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, their 2016 first round pick and, from what has been rumored, two future second round picks for the seven-foot Italian big man.

The trade has already received reactions from across the spectrum -- fans who love the trade and fans who would veto it, if possible. The larger hoard of Knicks fans have disapproved of the trade and it seems that analysts have reacted in similar ways. There's no doubting Bargnani's skills as an offensive player, but in the last two years, he's shown a sudden, harsh decline that had the Raptors desperately dangling him to any takers. Given how hard the Raptors tried to get rid of Bargnani (they nearly used the amnesty clause on him), fans and analysts disapproved of giving up more of the Knicks' already-sparse draft picks.

Bargnani's decline is alarming, too. From 2008-2011, Bargnani averaged 18 points per game, 45.6% FG, 37.5% 3FG, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks, while also playing an average of 74 games per season. The last two seasons, however, Bargnani has managed to play only 66 total games while averaging 16.1 points per game (just 12.7 this past season), 41.5% FG, 30.2% 3FG, 4.6 rebounds (did we mention he's seven feet tall?), and .6 blocks per game. When he's been able to actually stay on the court, he's hurt his team with meager production.

However, it's also hard to fault the Knicks for their interest. Bargnani, while obviously flawed, is one of the most versatile offensive big men in the league, capable of shooting from deep, facing up in the midrange and working off the dribble, and even posting up. He was often relied upon too much as a first or second option in Toronto, but in New York, behind Carmelo Anthony, and perhaps J.R. Smith (if he returns), Iman Shumpert (if he develops), or Amar'e Stoudemire (if he stays healthy), Bargnani wouldn't have to carry so much offensive weight. That's a lot of ifs....

Bargnani could also be a solution to defenses like the Indiana Pacers or Chicago Bulls who ran the Knicks off the three-point line and clogged the paint. In the playoffs, Tyson Chandler was unable to pull Roy Hibbert out of the paint to clear space for scorers going to the basket. As a result, the Knicks hoisted tons of jumpers that rarely fell. Bargnani wouldn't see huge minutes over Chandler, but he could provide the necessary floor-spacing that could open up the offense and spread opposing defenses.

The problem is that there's little tangible evidence to suggest that Bargnani can recover from his recent slump. His numbers are down across the board and there's very little silver lining in his advanced stats. The Knicks just have to hope that a smaller responsibility in a new, fresh setting in New York could be what gets him back on track. If those things happen, this trade could be a steal for the Knicks.

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