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Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 2:05 pm  |  38 responses

Bargnani Wants NBA to Expand to Rome

by John Hobbs / @johnswisshobbs

LONDON — After a good night’s sleep — and time to adjust — Toronto’s resident Italian, Andrea Bargnani was upbeat heading into the series of games against the New Jersey Nets in London’s O2 Arena.

Despite being upbeat, the 7-footer was adamant that his team is here strictly for business.

“This is a great occasion, and I’m looking forward to these two games,” Bargnani stated. “Everybody is pretty excited, it’s a new experience, something special, but when the game starts it’s just going to be another game for us, for the crowd, for the organization it’s going to be some different.

“We’re a young team, everyone is getting better. But, we’re pretty young, so it shows on the court sometimes, other times we are up in the last quarter and we lose the lead and we lose our heads, but it comes with experience, and hopefully next season, we’ll come better prepared” the Italian explained.

Bargnani also has high hopes of having regular-season NBA Europe games permanently in the future – which would include a five-team mini-league. Something that NBA Commissioner, David Stern has said will be ‘inevitable.’ The Raptors’ star, who is averaging 21.8 ppg, before tonight’s historic encounter, would love his birthplace of Rome to have a franchise.

“It would be great for Rome to have a franchise, but as for playing man, I’m with Toronto,” Bargnani clarified.

“To organize something like that though, with all the traveling and stuff, it will be very complicated. But the NBA wants to stage this as a permanent feature, and it would be great, but I hope Rome would get a spot.”

Looking ahead to the game against the Nets, Bargnani was aware of facing a stronger Nets team now that Deron Williams was in the set-up.

“He’s one of the top point guards in this league,” Bargnani said. “He runs the floor well, and can score when needed, he has adjusted well with the Nets and no doubt, they are a better team now with him.”

The mood is certainly relaxed here now that the Raptors have suitable practice under their belt, and they will look to build on their win over CP3 and the Hornets with two victories in front of a sell-out crowd at one of Europe’s largest indoor arenas.

Follow John on SLAMonline and Twitter @johnswisshobbs for Raptors coverage in London.

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  • http://www.sunlustxxx.com RunNGun

    Bargnani… New York > Rome. Come play for the Knicks!

  • BRAVO

    ewwwwwwwww runNgun…….HELL NO IS BARGANI gonna play for the Knicks. Hes a Raptors for life unlike Chris Bosh. How do I know? I just know. CANADA > KNICKS

  • MUBWAR

    who would want Bargnani on a lifetime contract? who? not even the raptors are that stupid. After 6 years, Banana is averaging 21 and 5. While other first round picks like Rose and Howard are competing for championships. What a waste.

  • youngmuggsy

    We all know how much NBA players love traveling long distances.

  • BRAVO

    @ mubwar actually it’s 5 years since he got drafted. He’s only 24 years of age averaging his best career highs since cb4 left. His time will come

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    Is he the first 7footer playing big time minutes not averaging at least 6-7 rebounds?

  • http://slamonline.com Ghost

    Bravo, speak for yourself then. 95% of Raptor fans want Andrea outta here, Max, I think Brook Lopez fits under that category too?

  • Jono

    I want Bargnani to go back to Rome.

  • http://dude Chukaz

    This global expansion thing is total bs. its the nba and n stand for national. Guess what bargnani, i want a cheese burger but i’m on a diet so it ain’t gonna happen. Life’s a b*tch then you die. The only way rome gets an nba franchise is if rome relocates to america

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    @ Ghost
    Lol yes, 5.9 in 34minutes
    Hows that even possible!?!

  • Drew

    I don’t know why so many people don’t like Bargnani. Who cares if he was a former #1 pick and he’s not a DRose or DHoward impact player. It doesn’t make him any less of a player than he is. Not every draft has a SUPERSTAR impact player.

  • http://www.basketbrasil.com.br Rubens

    @Chuckaz so, no Canada?

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    I think I would dislike Bargnani less if the Raptors played him as either Power Forward or Small Forward. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Bargnani played SF back in Italy… I mean the Knicks had a similar player in Danilo Gallinari and they played him at SF. The Raps need to realize Bargs is not Center material.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    co-sign niQ

  • http://dude Chukaz

    i know there’s a nba team in canada but it doesn’t mean that it should be there. N stants for national. You don’t see the CBA (chinese basketball association) expanding to america. Euroleague doesn’t have any american teams. As for the reason the raptors play barganani at center, its because he’s a bigger mismatch as a center. pf tend to have a more similar speed and athleticism to bargs than centers do. as to play him as a sf… lol he’s just too slow. he’s like 3 inches taller than gallinari

  • matt

    Yeah just too confirm what chukaz said. Dude is too big/slow/tall to face perimeter players at SF. At PF those bigs get whatever they want against him and they have too much skill/speed for him to cover. At center he might face big players but at least they are not as skilled as PFs. Also on the offensive end other centers can’t really guard him that well.

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do… When in Paris, Hurry up and give the next guy his turn!!

  • BRAVO

    GHOST. ye thats true but i know he is juss gettin better. derozan is playin well now too

  • Danny_W_UK

    Nice piece Swiss

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign niQ. And matt, he’s almost more of a liability at center in terms of defense and rebounding, than a threat on offense… He’d be great as a Dirk-like power forward. He is NOT a center.

  • MikeC.

    @Chukaz – Do you know what teams played in the first ever NBA game? New York Knickerbockers and Toronto Huskies. Toronto is one of the original NBA cities. Also, don’t forget that Canada is located in North America, which technically makes Toronto an American city. Chukaz, meet history and geography. It’s obvious you need to make their acquaintance.

  • Andrea Bargnani

    rome would be a great place for a team

  • http://theroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    LOL MikeC. kicking knowledge!

  • http://theroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    “LOL” at the last sentence. Not at the knowledge.

  • http://dude Chukaz

    @mikec – Dude what part of national don’t you get? National as in nation (you know, like a country). If it was the CBA (Continental [as in continent{like north America}] Basketball Association) then you would be right. You shouldn’t call ppl stupid when your a retard yourself

  • Justin

    Wait a second. Canada is located in North America which technically makes Toronto and American city? How the hell does that make any sense? So Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary…just to name a few…are all technically American cities as well? I nominate MikeC for dumbest comment ever written on this site. And that’s saying a lot considering how many dumb things JTaylor and The Seed spew every night

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    In this thread: Ignorance.

  • iSwag

    if Chuckaz means that Toronto shouldn’t be in the NBA then hes a b*tch. T-DOT STAND UP!

  • http://google c_cantrell

    who really gives a f*ck what bargnani wants? all he amounts to is an underachieving big man puss who makes lamarcus aldrigde look like rebounding phenom.. this is the real rupaul

  • Jdizzle

    To those hating on Toronto, its one of the most profitable franchises in the league despite being young and sucking.

    To those hating on Bargnani, saying he’s a waste of first pick. Who would you perfer the Raptors selected? Adam Morrison? Tyrus Thomas? Brandon Roy (who basically has no knees now)? LMA is the only player with a case but he’s would be very redundant with Bosh (essentially the same player).

  • ktokyo

    Well, at least the Raps didn’t choose Greg Oden. hoooah!

  • James aka…

    David stern wasn’t going to change the leagues name for foreign expansion, but it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense. The NHL started with 2 canadian and 4 american teams, so it never made sense, and I dopn’t anyone with more than 2 brain cells and a grade 4 education would care

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Justin: American as in “North” American… How is that hard to understand?

  • MichaelCampbell

    Stop complaining about Toronto being in the NBA, Toronto deserves to be in the NBA more then most teams now. A Canadian James Naismith invented basketball who was born in Ontario Canada, Toronto Huskies played the first NBA game ever in Toronto. So with all that basketball and NBA history all around Toronto I believe it deserves its place in the NBA.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    The NBA needs contraction, not expansion.

  • http://dude Chukaz

    just for the record when the Toronto huskies played the new york knicks, the name of the league was BAA (basketball association of america) n i ain’t saying that the nba shouldn’t be in toronto. i’m saying that the nba should not be in europe (i don’t got a map on me but there’s a chance that toronto is further south than boston, but i’m probably wrong)

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign MichaelCampbell, of course.

  • flipnoyce

    Hey Bargnani the NBA selected you to play in the US not Europe! If you feel out of place then why don’t you just go back in Euro league so you wont be consider mediocre. Toronto has every right to have their team there. There’s a big reason why some of the old basketball team moved to other cities, simply because they can’t keep it there due to fan base and ownership!!!@Chukaz- Toronto is FURTHER NORTH west of Boston, about 8 to 9 hrs drive.

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