Knicks officially introduce Andrea Bargnani to New York

Andrea Bargnani has talent, but has mostly been a disappointment in the NBA. Credit: Getty Images
Andrea Bargnani has talent, but has mostly been a disappointment in the NBA.
Credit: Getty Images

The Knicks formally introduced their newest trade acquisition on Thursday, maligned center Andrea Bargnani.

The 7-foot jump-shooting pivot has been the bane of Raptors fans’ existence since being the No. 1 overall pick in 2006, due to the fact he rarely lived up to his lofty draft status, was prone to injuries and only led the Raptors to the postseason twice.

But according to Knicks team president Glen Grunwald, that’s all in the past.

“We’re very hopeful that he’s now healthy and will have a very bright future for us. Injuries can take its toll and wear on you, but he’s excited for a fresh start and getting back to being the player we hope he can be,” said Grunwald. “Steve [Novak] and Marcus [Camby] were both very good payers, but sometimes you have to trade away a player or players you like to get another player you like. … Andrea brings a unique skill set and will hopefully cause matchup problems for the defense.”

Bargnani endured a rough final two seasons in Toronto, laced with injuries and a seemingly unshakeable label that he wasn’t tough enough to handle the rigors of the paint. A natural shooter, Bargnani came into the league known as a floor-spacing big man who hung around the perimeter, while also severely lacking on the defensive end or in the rebounding department despite his size and wingspan.

Bargnani heard the verbal slings and arrows hurled at him about his lacking toughness. A career 4.8 rebounds per game average was perfect fodder for the naysayers, so he’s anxious to show the NBA and many doubting fans he can be a better rebounder and play like his size dictates.

“I know I have to get better,” Bargnani said when asked about his deficiencies, adding the elbow injury really hampered his game. “Last year was tough for me because I had so many injuries and couldn’t play continually. The injuries hurt my rebounding, so I’m looking forward to being healthy and helping this team.”

This team is coming off a 54-win campaign and the deepest playoff run the franchise has had in almost 15 years, so expectations are up in New York.

Bargnani said he’s used to having high expectations from fans — although he admitted he’s sure it’s even more intense here. But looking back on his Toronto days, he said he harbors no ill feelings toward a basketball fanbase that is rather fervent, despite it naturally being a hockey town. While the center tried to look ahead to a Knicks team which will try to build on last season’s success, he showed contrition in that he wasn’t able to help the Raptors build a consistent winning program.

“It’s never easy. There was a lot of frustration up there. As the leader of the team, you have a lot of pressure, but the fans have a right to express their feelings. No regrets, though, I wish them the best,” he said. “I had a good experience in Toronto, but I also had a couple of bad ones. … I’m just very excited to be here and excited for a [fresh] start here and help this team win.”

Perhaps the biggest thing Bargnani is excited about — other than distancing himself from the boo-birds in Toronto — is that he gets to play with Carmelo Anthony. The reigning league-scoring champ will undoubtedly be the best teammate Bargnani has ever had, which will immediately take the pressure off the maligned center.

“Carmelo is a superstar. It’ll be a great experience to play with him,” said Bargnani, who added he’s not concerned about his scoring role. “I’m not really worried about being the first or second option. I’m interested in winning games … I’m starving to win.”

Knicks notes …

» Grunwald added that bringing Bargnani aboard was “independent” to what’s going on with Amar’e Stoudemire’s recovery. The former franchise cornerstone is still working his knee back into shape and will likely see a minutes’ restriction. But Grunwald said adding Bargnani wasn’t with Stoudemire in mind.

“Amar’e is a great player and we’re excited to have him back,” Bargnani said. “This will allow [head coach] Mike [Woodson] to go big or small. Amar’e has improved his post game, so the offensive abilities of those two players together is outstanding and will cause great difficulties for defenses.”

» Bargnani said he’s switching to No. 77 because No. 7 is obviously taken.

“I was going to change numbers anyway since ‘Melo wears No. 7.”

» The Italian national star said he got great advice about playing in New York from former Knicks forward and fellow Italian Danilo Gallinari.

“We’re very close friends,” Bargnani said. “This team is very different from the one he played on, so this is a different situation than the one that Danilo played for here, but he did help.”

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

National

Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…

National

Traps set after reports of giant snake on…

New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Local

NYPD: Stroller carrying 2-year-old rolls onto Queens subway…

A 2-year-old girl in a stroller rolled onto subway tracks in Queens on Monday morning, police said.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

Movies

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a different kind of genius…

The man known worldwide for his portrayal of London's eccentric private detective Sherlock Holmes is trading his Belstaff coat for tweed this fall. Benedict Cumberbatch…

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.