Former Toronto Raptors head coach Butch Carter believes that the team has no choice but to trade forward Andrea Bargnani.
Carter, who was a guest on Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday, said that if the team is going to improve, it will have to move the former No. 1 overall pick.
“I don’t think (Raptors president and general manager Bryan Coalngelo) has a choice because your four and five have to be, on good teams, you know they are two key players that should communicate openly,” Carter said.
“So my concern is that Bargnani is so quiet personality-wise that he is going to hurt Valanciunas. Normally the four and five are really key because they anchor the back of your defence and more teams play in a shooting four, if those two (Bargnani and Valanciunas) don’t get on the same page you got a problem.”
He also said that a trade shouldn’t be held against Colangelo, who drafted Bargnani with the first pick in the 2006 NBA draft.
“It shouldn’t be an indictment of Bryan Colangelo, it’s the business. You’re in the business of basketball,” Carter said while explaining that his team was forced to move young, talented players in order to try and move to the next level.
“We moved Damon Stoudamire and we moved Marcus Camby and the franchise was better,” he said. “They were not prepared at that point in their careers to be successful in Toronto. It was the best thing for the franchise. We didn’t put it out there that someone had to take a hit for it … it just didn’t work.”
Carter was fired after a tumultuous three-year stint as the Raptors head coach despite leading the Raptors to their first-ever playoff berth in 2000. He finished with a record of 73-143.
He believes that injuries have been part of the reason why the current team has failed to improve.
“You have to understand that in professional sports, your winning teams don’t deal with a lot of injuries,” Carter explained. “They have a window of two or three years where their top guys play 80 games … we haven’t seen that here in a while.”
He also believes Bargnani’s injuries have hindered his improvement.
“The biggest issue for Andrea I believe, is he’s been unhealthy,” Carter said. “I have a bigger concern with him being unhealthy and not being available because if he’s going to be an 18-point scorer a night, the team really needs him to be there to score those 18 points. He has missed a lot of games and I believe for any team to be successful your best players have to be healthy and he has been unhealthy.
“I don’t think that they’ve clearly spent the time with him in the summer to develop his body so that it hardens so that he doesn’t end up injured.”
Carter believes the injuries are not a case of bad luck but because the team has not spent enough time in the summer with its players to avoid injury.
“I think it’s something else, I think it can be avoided,” he explained. “You have to get with the guys and go through flexibility.”