When the Brooklyn Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics in an effort to immediately compete with the Miami Heat, an arms race of other teams seeking to catch up and remain viable contenders was sure to take place.
The New York Knicks became the first team to add some “star power” to their roster following the blockbuster deal, and, in typical Knicks fashion, the effort failed.
In this vain attempt to remain competitive, the franchise dealt journeyman role player Steve Novak as well as aging veteran Marcus Camby but also a first round draft pick and two second rounders to Toronto in exchange for former #1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani.
The Italian forward has largely been a bust since entering the league and has the likes of Michael Olowakandi, Kwame Brown, Andrew Bogut, and Greg Oden to thank for not taking more heat as a failed top pick.
A seven footer, Bargnani saw a significant reduction in offensive output this past season and averaged only 12.7 ppg and has a career rebound average of 4.8 per game.
That audible sigh you just heard was Knicks’ big man Tyson Chandler realizing that he would once again have to patrol the paint with almost no help from a physical presence.
While the team did not have to give up too much to get Bargani (assuming the team performs well enough to keep the first rounder relatively low in the packing order), the addition of the unimposing “big man” does little to advance the Knicks’ goal of being competitive with the two big dogs in the East. Moreover, Bargnani comes at the steep price of $22.25 million over the next two seasons.
At this stage in the offseason, it still appears that the Heat and Nets are ahead of everyone else with the Thunder, who made a great pick in Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams in the NBA Draft, and Spurs a step behind with significant distance between themselves and “the field.”
The main “x-factor” could be where Dwight Howard lands and how a team could build around the talented big man. Of course, any team looking to the fragile star need look no further than this season’s Lakers “super-team” to see how building hopes around Howard can lead to severe disappointment.