TORONTO – Andrea Bargnani vented to an Italian newspaper on Friday, calling the Toronto Raptors the worst team in the NBA.
But Raptors coach Dwane Casey cautioned the media to not read too much into what Bargnani told La Gazetta dello Sport, saying the forward’s scathing criticism might have been exacerbated by a language issue.
According to a translation, Bargnani told the newspaper: “Nothing has worked from the beginning of the season. We are pretty much the worst team in the NBA. This summer’s moves in the market were made to build a winning team, but we are not winning.
“We are below all of the expectations. No one is used to playing with anyone. We have won four games: it’s a tragic thing. Whatever way you look at it, it is a desperate situation. Since four years ago, we have kept losing. To improve, the only thing we can do is to win, and for now, we have not.”
Bargnani suffered a torn ligament in his right elbow and a strained right wrist when he fell Monday night in Portland. The 27-year-old told La Gazetta he expects to be out at least three weeks.
Casey cautioned against reading too much into the article, which ran under the headline “La frustrazione di Bargnani.”
“When I read it, it doesn’t sound like some of the words are Andrea’s English, first of all, so I’m sure some of it was lost in translation,” Casey said. “I’ll ask him about it. Every guy has his right to his own opinion, I don’t monitor guys’ opinions or what they say.
“Me personally, I would be very careful how I would interpret that, because we’ve all travelled and I’ve seen some crazy articles come out, a lot of it’s lost in translation. I don’t know what his intentions are or what he meant by his statement, but I’ll ask him.”
Raptors fans have been crying for the Raptors to trade Bargnani, who’s averaging 16 points a game in yet another frustrating season for the former No. 1 draft pick.
Bargnani isn’t the only athlete in Toronto to call out his team this year. Toronto FC striker Danny Koevermans was critical of his MLS team after it opened the season with a league-record ninth straight loss.
“We’re setting a record for the worst team in the world, man, and it’s painful,” Koevermans said at the time. “What can I say more? It’s just the worst ever.”