andrea-bargnani
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Friday , Oct , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Andrea Bargnani considering Virtus Roma?

Virtus Roma owner: "We have been talking with Andrea Bargnani. In my opinion, if he decides to play in Italy, he will sign just with us (Bargnani was born and grew up in Roma).

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: European clubs are loving the lockout.

The best squads in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey are free to flirt with the best NBA players who are without jobs.

This means free publicity.

For weeks, executives with Virtus Bologna have been ‘negotiating’ with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

These executives have no issue discussing negotiations with the press, while Bryant’s representative, Rob Pelinka, has had little to say.

Now the head suit with Virtus Roma is telling anyone who will listen that in his opinion they’ll land Andrea Bargani.

Perhaps they will. Perhaps they won’t.

The media (myself included) is reporting his opinion, though. So Virtus Romas, like every other European club, might as well get the free publicity while they can.

O.Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kareem calls Michael Olowokandi ‘uncoachable’ and a ‘washout’

I have seen this process firsthand. When I coached for the Clippers, I had to deal with Michael Olowokandi, a player who perfectly fit the description "talented but uncoachable." At practice, I would attempt to point out Mr. Olowokandi's faults to him, ones he constantly repeated and resulted in lost possessions for the team or personal fouls that sent him to the bench. His reaction to my attempts to correct his bad habits was to take my input as a personal insult and embarrassment. He told me point-blank that he would not be criticized in front of the team. He stuck to his word and, as a result, had very few successful moments on the court playing the way he wanted to play. He took his place on the list of athletically gifted washouts who have been in and out of the league in the past 10 years.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is right. Michael Olowokandi is one of many ‘athletically, gifted washouts’.

The problems start with the team. Not the players. Too many owners, executives, and coaches pay based on potential.

For instance, how many bigs, like Olowokandi, get $8-10 million per season because they’re big? That’s it. They’ve done nothing. They’ve achieved nothing. But they’re seven-feet, which makes them worthy of a contract that should offend.

Except it doesn’t offend. It’s the norm. Nobody blinks when Andrea Bargnani, Calvin Booth, Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry, Brendan Haywood, Kenyon Martin, Bryant Reeves, Tyrus Thomas, and dozens of other stiffs get theirs.

Or, how about the Washington Wizards bidding against themselves and doling out $111 million over six-years to combo guard Gilbert Arenas, despite The Hibachi having undergone three surgeries on his brittle knees?    

There are other absurd contracts. The money, of course, creates entitlement. It’s why Olowokandi believes he's above being coached, even when that coach is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, a former master in the paint, a world champion, and league MVP.

The ‘Skyhook’ is right. The ‘washout’ era needs to end. Hopefully, the new financial system changes the money and power teams give unproven and undeserving players.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jun , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Colangelo finally admits ‘Euro’ vision failed by hiring Casey?

Colangelo certainly paid attention as the 54-year-old Casey has been thrown the keys to the Raptors broken-down car, being affirmed on Tuesday as the new head coach of the NBA franchise. Casey, who signed a three-year contract, will take over from Jay Triano of Niagara Falls, Ont., who was relieved of his coaching duties earlier this month, in the aftermath of a frustrating 22-60 regular season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Hiring Dwane Casey is the closest Bryan Colangelo will come to admitting he was wrong.

When hired, Colangelo had a vision for the Toronto Raptors. They’d be the NBA’s ‘Euro’ club. They’d emphasize scoring and skill. They’d collect players from every republic, federation, principality, and semi-autonomous region in Europe.

Most importantly, they’d win.

On the surface, it made sense. Americans were hesitant to come to Canada, even if it meant playing in a world class city such as Toronto.

So Colangelo did his best with what he had. Problem was, it didn't work.

Defense still wins championships. Drafting and re-signing Andrea Bargnani and having Jose Calderon at point guard made the Raptors vulnerable at point guard and center.

Slowly but surely, Colangelo has changed course. Bargnani, the player he drafted first overall, is at a crossroads with the organization. Calderon is more of a platoon player.

The new Raptors are young, athletic, and raw. The new Raptors are Jerryd Bayless, Ed Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, and James Johnson. 

This collection of talent needs help in their own end, which is Casey’s speciality. He was the brains behind George Karl’s defensive sets in Seattle, had Minnesota running at 20-20, and helped Rick Carlisle’s Dallas crew win a championship.

For now, Casey is the Raptors’ only off-season change. His hiring represents Colangelo changing course from offense to defense.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , May , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bargnani, sort of, asks Raptors for trade?

Asked in a feature interview where he’d like to play if he could rub a magic lamp and transport himself to another NBA city, Bargnani told Italy’s Sky Sports: “I want to stay in Toronto, at least this is the politically correct answer. If (I am) to go somewhere else, I’d like a warm climate city and a team where I can actually play in my role.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s time.

It’s time for the Toronto Raptors to trade former first overall pick Andrea Bargnani. The Italian basically asked for a trade and publicly criticized Bryant Colangelo, the club`s lead executive and his boss, to the European press.

Colangelo no longer needs to justify taking Bargnani first overall or re-upping him to the tune of five years and $50 million.

He has his own multi-year extension, courtesy of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the wealthy holding company that owns the NBA’s northern team.

Besides, the Raptors are now  defensive. They no longer have, or want, a European from every country, breakaway republic, and semi-autonomous state.

They’re better with Amir Johnson and young Ed Davis down low, while DeMar DeRozan and others could pick up the scoring slack.

Where exactly does Bargnani, a finesse post, fit?

Of course, there’s a personal element to this. Instead of expressing his frustration behind closed doors, Bargnani called Colangelo out. This will do irreversible damage to his relationship with the organization.

So Colangelo may just give Bargnani his wish: a trade. Perhaps this was Bargnani`s plan all along.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Colangelo and Raptors finally open to trading Bargnani?

Despite Toronto losing Chris Bosh and making little progress this season, team president Bryan Colangelo is returning to run the team, according the several league sources. That could be good news for D'Antoni, whose offense has been a bad fit for Anthony.

D'Antoni, who worked under Colangelo in Phoenix, might be out of a job if Walsh leaves the Knicks at season's end. For now, the Raptors plan to bring back coach Jay Triano, despite their awful season. But if D'Antoni becomes available, Triano could be jettisoned. Whether it's D'Antoni or Triano, the Raptors want to build around rookie big-man Ed Davis and second-year guard DeMar DeRozan. They're said to be open to moving Andrea Bargnani, who has been anything but an impact player since entering the league in 2007 as the No. 1 overall pick.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It would appear Toronto Raptors’ GM Bryan Colangelo is finally ‘being somewhat real’ about Andrea Bargnani.

Bargnani is a nice offensive player, with a skill-set that can create mismatches. That’s it, though.

Bargnani is not the next Dirk Nowitzki. Bargnani is not an All-Star. Bargnani is not, and never will be, a competent rebounder or defender. And Bargnani was not worth the first overall pick in the 2006 draft.

Face it: Colangelo’s experiment has failed. Miserably.

It’s only now with the cover of an extension that Toronto’s Former Golden Boy will admit making a mistake.

The Raptors gave Bargnani every chance to succeed. They had to. They had to justify drafting the Italian ahead of LaMarcus Aldridge or Brandon Roy –despite the swing’s recent injuries.

Returns on Bargnani were mediocre, but Colangelo still rewarded him with a 5-year, $50 million extension in 2009, despite being a year away from free agency.

And Bargnani still started and logged heavy minutes, even though his finesse game wasn’t a fit in Coach Jay Triano’s system.

Bottom line: Bargnani isn’t an asset. He’s a liability. The team is far better developing Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, James Johnson, and franchise face in waiting DeMar DeRozan.

Bargnani’s isn’t a bust. His game is simply better suited to being a sixth-man than a superstar. Similar to Danilo Gallinari with the Denver Nuggets, he could excel as a scorer off the bench.

That can’t happen in Toronto, though. Expectations will always be sky high and unrealistic because of management.

Look for Colangelo, a master of the deal, to cover himself by finding a taker for Bargnani. And when that happens, he’ll again spin the situation in a well orchestrated press conference.

After all, Colangelo can’t be totally real in a media hot-bed such as Toronto. With three national sports channels, two national radio stations, five daily newspapers, and demanding fans, he can only concede so much.

Such is life in Toronto, especially with a mistake like Bargnani.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kleiza offer sheet latest example of Colangelo and Raptors’ flawed vision

The Raptors have signed Nuggets restricted free agent forward Linas Kleiza to a four-year, $20 million offer sheet, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Gee, get the impression Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is desperate?

The former golden boy of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will either get nothing or Mario Chalmers and a trade exception - which is pretty close to nothing - from the Miami Heat for superstar Chris Bosh.

Instead of regrouping and developing a cohesive plan, instead of laying out a clear vision going forward for the Raptors, Colangelo is doing the opposite. He’s reacting.

Case in point: today’s news the organization is tendering a pretty fair contract to restricted free agent Linas Kleiza, a skilled Euro’ scorer, who believes he is above getting down-and-dirty on defense.

Haven’t the Raptors seen this song and dance before? Don’t they already have a couple of finesse swings who believe getting-stops is for the hired help?

So what’s Colangelo thinking? Simply put, he's not.

For years, there’s been a serious disconnect between the style the Raptors want to play and the skill-set their players have. And this is the two-time Executive of the Year’s fault.

For instance, the club has talked publicly of wanting to be a get-stops, defensive-minded club. This was Sam Mitchell’s mandate. Ditto for Jay Triano.

However, Colangelo too often drafts, signs, or trades for soft foreigners, who simply can’t get it done in their own end. His go-to is the skilled Euro from a tiny, unpronounceable republic across the Atlantic Ocean.

Last year, the club started Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, and Hedo Turkoglu. All are skilled Europeans. All are below average defenders.

Kleiza is a nice player, but more of the same for Toronto, which is a problem.

It’s time for Colangelo to start thinking clearly. Or it’s time for him to follow Bosh out the door.   
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Bon Jovi or Def Leppard and Andrea Bargnani’s miracle three or Flip Murray’s flip?
Monday , Apr , 05 , 2010 Oly Sandor

Bon Jovi or Def Leppard and Andrea Bargnani’s miracle three or Flip Murray’s flip?

To quote the 'great' Bon Jovi, Andrea Bargnani and ‘Flip’ Murray were ‘Livin' on a Prayer’.

Recently, the Toronto Raptors’ post and Chicago Bulls’ swing received a little help when their heaves were answered by a higher power –of some sort. Of course, the Raptors and Bobcats will take all the divine intervention they can get - even if it comes courtesy of a hair band years past their prime, if they ever had one - because both franchises are battling for the eighth and final playoff birth in the Eastern Conference.

 

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