What can the Raptors expect to get in return for Jose Calderon? There has been lots of speculation that the Raptors would like to move him. That said, unless you are playing NBA 2k13, it might not be all that easy to come up with a deal that makes any sense.
Why is this problematic? Calderon being paid just over $10 million dollars is the major issue. There just isn’t a team out there with the space to take back that kind of salary without giving back a similar amount to the Raptors. Making that math work, combined with a deal that makes logical sense, is not easy. The Raptors are unlikely to be interested in taking back long-term salaries in return, unless it is an amazing deal for them.
This is also assuming the Raptors are still shopping Calderon, which might not be the case anymore. Kyle Lowry has been injured twice for the Raptors already, and we’re in November. He missed time in training camp and now is out with bone bruise for at least a week.
Calderon has recorded his first career triple-double, and he dished out 18 assists against the Orlando Magic. Calderon is one of the better offensive point guards in this league. If he was able to play even an average level of defense, the Raptors would not have had to go get Kyle Lowry.
It is easy to rant and rave on Twitter, or social media, that Raptors need to trade this guy. It becomes harder when you are forced to come up with an actual deal that another team would consider. It would not be shocking to me if the Raptors ultimately can’t find a deal at all.
One team that seems to be a good fit to make a deal for Calderon is the Detroit Pistons. You could come up with a couple logical trades that make some sense for both sides. Here are a couple deals that make some sense:
The Pistons do have Brandon Knight, but this gives them a proven option at the point that can try and address the Pistons' problems. It also gives them the chance to bring Calderon back as the long term backup for Knight going forward. If not they get to unload the contract of Prince and get some needed cap relief heading into next year.
As for the Raptors, they are in desperate need of something at the small forward and they get a lesser point guard to play behind Lowry beyond John Lucas III. If they don’t like what they see out Bynum, they can let him walk at the end of the season.
A much simpler deal would be a straight swap of expiring contracts:
This deal is just two teams swapping expiring contracts for help at a position of need. Detroit has a lot of combo-style guards, Calderon is an old school point guard and maybe he can spark some life for this team on offense. If the Raptors went this route it would be a sign of pure desperation about their small forward position. There is no question Maggette comes with baggage, but if he is a problem, then you still have the same expiring contract you had with Calderon.
Where this deal may fall apart is if either side wants to throw draft picks into the mix. I don’t see either side liking these deals enough to part with a draft pick, especially not in the first round. The Raptors potentially may not even have a first round pick to deal for next season, with the Kyle Lowry trade and only having their first round pick should they make the playoffs or land in the top three in the lottery.
This could get more interesting for the Raptors if we add the name Andrea Bargnani to the package. Now you could see something big happen.
Here are a couple deals that might be a little crazy, but might not be, depending on how things go for these teams. The New York Knicks have surprised many with their great start to the NBA season. Many feel that when Amar’e Stoudemire returns, so will the same problems the Knicks had last season. Would they consider moving him to the Raptors?
To New York:
It seems like a long shot, but keep in mind the relationship Bryan Colangelo has with Amar’e drafting him in Phoenix. It would not be the first time Colangelo made a deal for one of his former Suns, as he already tried bringing in Shawn Marion and Leandro Barbosa in the past.
The Knicks get a great three-point shooter in Bargnani to add to the mix that will not get in the way for Carmelo Anthony. Calderon is a solid option at point guard and offers the Knicks some money off the books at the end of the season. Although, this is not something the Knicks have been all that concerned with in the past.
If the Raptors are extremely lucky, they can get a pick out of this as well. This will take the Knicks having to fail again with combo of Amar’e and Carmelo Anthony to happen for this to be even considered. Also, trading inside a division is rare and risky on its own.
The other team that might be willing to gamble on this combo package is the L.A. Lakers. Ever since the trade that never happened for Chris Paul, things have not been the same with Pau Gasol. The Lakers have already been looking at making a swap for Josh Smith from the Hawks.
We'll call this trade with the Raptors a decent plan “B” for the Lakers if things don’t work with Atlanta.
To L.A Lakers:
Why would this be good for the Lakers? Once Steve Nash returns, he gets a guy already proven to be a solid three-point shooter. Bargnani should be able to get lots of open looks from long range with Nash running the show. Calderon is the perfect backup to keep Nash from playing major minutes. He also is very skilled at playing pick and roll basketball like Nash.
Probably a pie-in-the-sky dream for the Raptors fans. Still, it might not be completely insane. However, the Josh Smith deal with the Hawks is the one the Lakers would really want at the end of the day.
This has been fun to play GM here, but realistically the Raptors likely are in no rush to move Calderon. The fans would like to see nothing more than Andrea Bargnani gone after his slow and sluggish start. it is likely a long shot at best right now. Many feel that Colangelo would never move Bargnani and admit defeat on his first overall pick in 2006.
While Raptors fans might be ready for a trade, they may have to wait for awhile, as the appetite around the league to make trades this early is never high. I think the Raptors will try hard to get something for Calderon. I do not expect him to return to Toronto next season given the Raptors' history of trying to move him in recent years.
In other words, while these deals are possibilities, you should not hold your breath waiting for them to happen. It is just as likely the Raptors cannot find a deal and have Calderon for one final season with the Raptors. They can at least be happy that he is doing his part in helping keep his value high with Lowry out of the lineup.