This issue has become a hot button topic over the last month with rumours popping up that the Toronto Raptors, for the third season in a row, are looking to shop Jose Calderon.
Jose does not sound like someone who is looking to end his career as a Toronto Raptor pointing to the fact that he does not even know if he will be here past the trade deadline, a scenario he has dealt with for the past few years.
“I think it’s too soon,” said Calderon. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if I’m going to get traded or not because of my contract situation. Let’s see what happens when we finish the season. I think the summer is going to be the time to think about it, all the pros and cons, in every situation.”
We have all heard similar remarks from former Raptors and when a player declines to commit or if the team declines to extend the said player, a parting of ways becomes a distinct and sometimes likely possibility.
Trade good for Raptors?
Trading Jose Calderon is indeed in the Toronto Raptors best interest as he will likely not re-sign with us this summer and losing another good talent for absolutely nothing would be yet another detrimental blow to the franchise.
Another angle to look at is the Kyle Lowry angle, as Lowry has not been happy that he lost his starting job due to injury and has twice played less than 18 minutes in a game since his return. Lowry just went off for 26 points and 7 assists versus the Bulls, and seems to be back to pre-injury form.
Some will point to the fact that we have won 10 out of 16 games since Calderon took over as starter, but will fail to point out that only one of those victories came against a playoff team at the time (Portland won 11 out of 14 to put them in playoff contention before a three game losing streak; the Rockets were the only playoff team).
Furthermore, Jose Calderon is still a huge liability on defense and as Magic Johnson pointed out when discussing Steve Nash’s lack of defense, when your first line of defense continuously gets beat your bigs are in danger of getting frustrated and picking up fouls because they are forced to help repeatedly and incessantly.
Trade good for Jose?
Although Jose has performed excellently as the starting point guard for the Toronto Raptors this year, the simple fact of the matter is Calderon is at the age where he should want to and deserves to play for a championship.
Jose has been a consummate professional during his time with the Raps despite constant trade rumours and actual trades that fell apart in the eleventh hour.
By his recent comments, one can ascertain that his future in Toronto is doubtful even if we don’t trade him. Jose has undoubtedly been hurt by constantly being on the trade block and no one will blame him when/if he decides to sign with another team this summer.
Just like with Roy Halladay a few years back, Jose should be given the chance to contend.
Jose will and should have no loyalty to a team who failed to show him any during the last couple of years.
What teams could actually use Jose this year?
Now the question here is not which teams need a point guard, but which teams desire a point guard enough to pay him $10 million this season and have the requisite assets for the Raptors to be willing to pull off a trade.
The teams that need a point guard include Miami, Utah and maybe Dallas.
Miami needs a quality starting point guard but won a championship without one and does not have the assets to make a deal work with the Raptors unless the deal was for something like Mike Miller (to be amnestied), Norris Cole, Joel Anthony, Dexter Pittman and two future 1st rounders for Aaron Gray and Jose Calderon. This scenario makes little sense for the Raptors.
Utah has a slight need for an upgrade for their backup point guard situation as with Mo Williams out until March at the earliest, they have been forced to start Jamaal Tinsley and also give Earl Watson and Alec Burks heavy minutes. Utah definitely has the assets for a deal, but the Raptors would have to throw a first rounder to the Jazz in any sign and trade for Paul Millsap and perhaps another asset to take malcontent Raja Bell off of the Jazz’ hands. The Jazz may be more willing to deal AJ, but Jefferson famously refused to work out for the Raptors in the year of Rafael and would likely balk at a deal to Toronto. This deal makes a lot of sense for the Raptors, but not as much for the Jazz.
Finally the Dallas Mavericks who have proclaimed that the ‘Bank of Cuban’ is open could also use a quality starter or backup, but would likely need to recruit a third team in order to get a deal done for Calderon.
What teams may be looking to dump a salary?
We all know that the Memphis Grizzlies are looking to shed Rudy Gay’s salary from their books and while Calderon is not a fit for Memphis, he does have the requisite big contract if the Grizzlies decided they wanted a straight salary dump. With that said, the Grizz have been looking at wing players like Bradley Beal and Jared Dudley in potential trade scenarios which leads one to believe a deal probably could not get done without DeMar DeRozan in the deal, which just doesn’t make sense for the Raptors despite glimpses from Terrence Ross. Other possible scenarios floated have involved Jose Calderon, Terrence Ross and either Ed Davis or Jonas Valanciunas, a price that is simply too steep.
Tyreke Evans seems like another possible candidate, but has really picked up his game as of late and the Kings likely wouldn’t be looking for a straight salary dump as he only makes just over five million in the final year of his deal. Any deal for Evans would likely involve a draft pick going to Sacramento and the addition of a bad contract like that of Chuck Hayes and/or Travis Outlaw. A probable scenario would involve a first rounder, Aaron Gray and Jose Calderon for Evans, Hayes and Outlaw, a deal that makes little sense for the Kings on paper.
By all accounts the Phoenix Suns may have already grown tired of Michael Beasley who may be available in a straight salary dump type of deal. The Suns would have to add another contract to make the numbers work and Wesley Johnson would seem to be a great fit on paper. With that said, the Raptors balked at taking Michael Beasley in a Chris Bosh deal and instead chose to take a trade exception which they never used, making this an unlikely scenario.
One other team that may be looking to dump a player is the Denver Nuggets who have Wilson Chandler on the books for close to six million over the next four years. The Nuggets have a trade exception from the Nene deal so could make a straight up swap of Calderon and a pick for Chandler. Chandler would be an upgrade at the small forward position but has been playing well in limited minutes for the Nuggets up to this point and former Raptors exec Masai Ujiri may look for a better return than an expiring contract who would be buried on the bench and a future 1st rounder.
Should the Raptors trade Jose Calderon?
Yes, as outlined above it seems to be in all parties best interests that a trade is consummated before this February’s trade deadline. While it probably will indeed disrupt team chemistry, it will help usher in a new age for the Raptors. One where athleticism and defense are essential at the point.
The Raptors are not a playoff team this season regardless of what one of the easiest patches of schedules the Raptors may have ever seen has led many to believe; we are not a better team than the teams ranked one to nine in our conference and holding onto a veteran who is not in our future plans and whom we may lose for nothing does not benefit the Raptors organization, in any way, shape or form.