Ocho 4Eva: Why the Raptors Need to Keep Jose Calderon


No Game Preview (Bargnani is back!) tonight, but I decided to leave you a column on the Raptors trade deadline. Enjoy! Embrace the weekend everyone.

Jose Calderon has had a weird career with the Raptors, from being the involved in the 2006 Atlantic Division title run and the infamous T.J. Ford one two punch and the all of the debate that surrounding it, to being a solid starter and an impressive Olympian with Spain, to being maligned by Dino Nation for his famous shortcomings on defense (part his fault, part Jay Triano’s defensive principles) Jose has experienced a career with the Raptors that has come full circle.

This season Calderon has experienced a revival as one of the league’s most reliable point guards. Averaging 10 points and 9 rebounds and a assist to turnover rating of 4.52 (second highest in his career) with a new offensive system and without Andrea Bargnani, Calderon has provided leadership and timely three point shooting to a young team that is showing signs of promise.

However Calderon’s steady play has placed him in the trade deadline rumour mill, contenders looking for steady point guard play are in the market for a player like Calderon. This presents a problem for the Raptors, do they trade their starting point guard for a chance to add more draft picks/cap room, or do they keep the point guard who has spent his entire career in Toronto? It is a tough question that Bryan Colangelo is going to have to face this week as the NBA trade deadline nears.

If the Raptors are to trade at the deadline it is likely going to be a move to free cap room and add youth, this would be best acheived through trading a player who is at the end of his career to a contender looking to add depth at the deadline. (See: Barbosa, Leandro) A trade like that makes sense if the Raptors have no use for the player in their long term plans. However this is not the case with Jose Calderon.

Calderon might not be past his best years if you look at a very similar player: Steve Nash. Both have a game based on shooting form and great floor sense, and despite the fact that no one will dispute that Steve Nash is in a different league than Calderon both have the types of minimal-athleticism games that stay around for years. Combine that with the fact that Calderon is bank for consistent, but not amazing point guard play and you can’t really say Calderon is about to fade anytime soon as a 45-35-85 shooter who has great floor sense.

In a league that is relatively weak on point guards (Derek Fisher and Steve Blake are point guards on a contender people) the Raptors would be hard pressed to find a player close to equal value of a Jose Calderon.

Add in the fact that Jerryd Bayless continues to appear to have the perfect mix of bad luck with injuries and mediocre play that created the very forgettable Anthony Carter era at the helm of the second unit and you can see that the Raptors lack in point guard depth to move a veteran leader. Can you say the Raptors get better in the future by giving Jerryd Bayless the keys to the car when he has proven that he is nowhere close to being ready to start at point guard for 82 games for any NBA team?

If the Raptors do end up trading Jose Calderon it will be sad to see a player who has been there all the way since the beginning of the post-VC era all the way to the post-CB4 era. Calderon has been there for some of my favorite moments in Raptor history and as a basketball fan, and it would be sad to see him go before the story ends.