“The Knicks believe they have a good support system in place to help Bargnani succeed. Two of his former coaches in Toronto, Jim Todd and Dave Hopla, are on Mike Woodson’s staff. Anthony is the designated face of the franchise which should take some pressure off Bargnani.
In 1999, another Toronto big man was run out of town and came in to New York to reboot his career. Marcus Camby, a former No. 2 overall pick by the Raptors, arrived with similar baggage in 1999. He also had the added burden of replacing a rugged and beloved power forward, Charles Oakley.
Latrell Sprewell also showed up that same season as the most vilified athlete in professional sports. But Sprewell rebuilt his reputation and his career by helping the Knicks reach the NBA Finals. Sprewell and Camby became fan favorites overnight.
Bargnani gets a similar chance now. Il Mago needs to make the most of his second act.”
Tommy DeeRemember those days? The days before everyone HAD to be right about a trade at the time and now possess the weapons to demand they are? Camby for Oakley was a trade that made people, including Van Gundy, cringe. But fans knew that the Knicks needed to get younger. Van Gundy hated the trade so much he barely played Camby until the magical run in 1999 that left him a Knicks hero. And Sprewell? John Starks went in that trade, one that fans couldn’t stomach either until Spree started winning games for them on the road to the Finals.
The point is both Camby and Spreewell, and you could throw Larry Johnson in that group too, weren’t welcomed with open arms by fans but it wasn’t as dismissive as the Bargnani trade. And they didn’t give anything away for the guy when you consider he’s 27 and the former overall #1 pick.
The bottom line is that Bargnani has to come here and revive his career and show the fire and desire to do so. He’s far too talented to see his career fall off so soon. He’s not Darko Milicic in my mind because doesn’t rely on people getting him the ball. He’s way more skilled, can shoot the ball from range and I believe he’s going to come in to NY and play well if given the green light.