Andrea Bargnani reportedly spurns the Kings, signs with Brooklyn

Andrea Bargnani reportedly spurns the Kings, signs with Brooklyn

We’re officially in the Andrea Bargnani-portion of the NBA summer. And, because this is the NBA (and also because Bargs is Bargs), there is intrigue involved.

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ESPN reported on Saturday that Bargnani was set to take some of that salary cap space that the Sacramento Kings furiously worked to deal away for during the summer, acting as the team’s sad consolation prize:

Then, in even sadder news, Bargnani reportedly decided to turn down the Kings’ offer in order to take the veteran’s minimum (!) with the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets, a tire fire of a franchise that has burned through hundreds of millions of dollars over the last three seasons with just one one-sided second round loss (in the East!) to show for it, still seemed like a better option at the veteran’s minimum than the NBA’s worst franchise.

Bargnani the player has unfortunately turned into one of the NBA’s great punchlines:

Don't forget:

He’s missed 160 games over the last three seasons, one with Toronto and two with New York. The Knicks traded for the former No. 1 overall pick in 2013 much to the immediate dismay of the team’s smarter fans, sending its 2016 first round pick (or Denver’s, if the Knicks unexpectedly pass the Nuggets in the standings) and two second round picks to a gleeful Toronto Raptors club that was more than willing to part with the player that the team’s former general manager selected above all others in 2006.

Once thought to be a versatile scorer whose ability to put points on the board would more than make up for any defensive issues, the hoped-for next Dirk Nowitzki has struggled in nine NBA seasons thus far. The defense and rebounding issues (as a power forward, he’s a poor rebounding small forward) came as advertised, but Bargnani has failed to turn into a consistent threat on the other end.

Last season, after three down years, his three-point shooting did rise to the league average of 37 percent, but that was only after three seasons of shooting 29 percent on average from long range. His marks of 19.7 points and 5.8 rebounds (again, playing mostly at power forward and center) per 36 minutes last year might seem passable, but he also took inexplicable shots, barely played defense, and missed 93 out of 164 games for the Knicks in two seasons.

For this, the team paid him $22.3 million over two years, while giving up what will most assuredly be a 2016 lottery pick and two second rounders.

Somehow, Sacramento’s shame seems even worse.

The team unloaded serviceable players like Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas (if he turns it around) and Carl Landry (if healthy) on the Philadelphia 76ers to clear cap space, and as a result might be dropping an unprotected 2019 first round pick on the Sixers if the Kings stay Kangs. Picking up Marco Bellineli, Kosta Koufos and Omri Casspi (all presumably on the cheap) are fine moves, but they’re not the sort of moves you take risks on. Signing Rajon Rondo to a free agent deal, no matter the cost or length, is a risk – this is a guy that could submarine your season.

The Kings want to win now, which is understandable given DeMarcus Cousins’ deserved impatience, but if the team falls out of the top ten in the 2016 lottery (it finished sixth this year in a massive mess of a season) it will have to send its first round pick to the Chicago Bulls. Meanwhile, Andrea Bargnani is taking less money to play in Brooklyn for a team that is absolutely going nowhere.

For Brooklyn, for once, this isn’t a risky move.

Bargnani can and probably will tilt the entire floor in bad ways defensively with the Nets, but if he can be a bit player and still hit the league average on three-pointers while at center or big forward, he could help in brief spurts. At the veteran’s minimum for two years, he’s not a bad change of scenery to have in the rotation.

Still, the Nets managed to Billy King it up, somehow:

(The NBA reimburses teams for one-year, veteran minimum deals.)

The Nets are still in basketball purgatory, good enough to compete for a mediocre record in the terrible East, albeit at a much-reduced rate for 2015-16. The franchise did re-sign Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young to large yearly contracts, but it just bought out Deron Williams and the squad is reportedly looking to deal Joe Johnson final year (at nearly $25 million, holy lord) for pure financial relief.

It’s hard to get all of the NBA’s most massive mistakes into one Sunday summer evening, but here we are.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!