The trade deadline
Until the calendar turns on Feb. 21, it's anyone's guess what this team will look like over the final two months.
Whether it's Kyle Lowry, Jose Calderon, Ed Davis, Alan Anderson and Andrea Bargnani's name will soon join that group, all have been named in any number of trade scenarios that to this point remain rumours. While the Rudy Gay rumours ramp up and appear to be the most serious, the fact remains they are still rumours and until either the Raptors or a would-be trading partner step up and say they are done, that is what they will remain. It's common knowledge that the Raptors have long coveted Gay, a guy they passed over in the 2006 draft to select Bargnani. He would therefore be on your "most likely to come to fruition" rumour. There's no question he would bring to the Raptors a proven scorer and as he proved on a few occasions against the Raptors, is one of those guys who relishes the opportunity to have the ball in his hands at crunch time. Again, until a trade is finalized, it's all just fodder for the rumour mill but that bears watching carefully.
The enigmatic Italian is set to return either later this week or early next week and where exactly he fits is going to be the biggest question. When he left he was without question a starter and may yet be depending on how head coach Dwane Casey sees it. Casey has been extremely complimentary of what he has got from Ed Davis in Bargnani's absence and rightly so. Davis has taken the opportunity given him by Bargnani's absence and run with it. Since Bargnani was sidelined by injury on Dec. 10, Davis has started every game for the Raptors at power forward and averaged 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds. More importantly he and Amir Johnson have combined to provide the kind of interior defence Casey was never getting from the tandem of Bargnani and Valanciunas. There's no question that Bargnani still brings a coveted skill set in his combination of outside shooting and length. It will be on Casey to decide what he values more in his starting power forward. There's always the chance Bargnani returns to the starting rotation merely to showcase his health before being dealt.
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