With the acquisition of Kyle Lowry the Toronto Raptors sent a statement to Jose Calderon: you’re not starting material here anymore. With the increased talk of defense and how it will be vastly improved with Kyle at the point, there were further messages for Jose to read into.
If he didn’t read into all the chatter maybe he read into the fact that he was actually traded for Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw until Michael Jordan changed his mind. Maybe it’s just the fact that his is the only name on the Raptors roster that continuously appears in trade rumours.
Whatever it was, he got the message. Now he wants out.
Calderon has asked for a trade and is hoping to start this coming NBA season somewhere else.
It might actually make sense for Bryan Colangelo to hold onto Jose Calderon for as long as he can. Jose still has great value as a player on this team. He has been its leader in the post-Bosh era and, from all indications, is a well liked personality in the locker room.
He also happens to be a very good basketball player.
Jose would become arguably one of, if not the best, backup point guard in the league. He’s been matched up with other teams starters for the last few seasons and now becomes a very highly skilled backup.
This role could have great benefits for the Toronto Raptors going into this season. If, of course, they can convince Jose to stay.
Kyle Lowry is a fast, slashing pont guard, who likes to get to the basket regularly and tends to kick out if he meets contact in the paint. Lowry provides sound defensive ability and is lightning quick.
Jose presents a solid contrast to Lowry’s game. Jose slows the offense down. He keeps the team in check, looks for the right pass and possesses one of the more accurate shots in the league. He doesn’t have great defensive skills, but showed in the right system he is not as bad as most Raptor fans have made him out to be.
Calderon provides the Raptors with the perfect backup point guard to Kyle Lowry.
There will be nights when Kyle takes the ball to the rim too much, makes passes to the front row, turns the ball over too many times or gets himself into foul trouble against other elite point guards.
Jose can come in and keep the offense in control. He already has experience matching up with the best point guards in the league. He plays a safe game and limits turnovers. He compliments Lowry quite well.
Not only that but he has developed great chemistry with many of the current Raptor players that will be coming off of the bench. Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon worked great together last year. He and Andrea have known each other for a long time and seem to fit well together and although Bargnani won’t be playing off the bench, he will likely get minutes with the second unit.
Plus Jose would be a great calm on the floor for some of the younger players just entering the league. Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross are going to be depended on to produce in their first year. Having a calm point guard keep them in check and give them the ball where they need it is going to help their development.
Jose runs the high screen and roll and pick n’ roll quite well and these are plays that Jonas will unquestionably need learn in order to be effective on the offensive side of the court.
What better point guard to be leading your second unit?
Many will argue that Jose is unhappy and likely will not accept a backup role on the Raptors. To that, I say that Jose Calderon, if still a member of the team, will come into training camp and deal with his changed role with grace.
If I’ve learned anything from watching Jose hand out Gatorade to teammates at half time, it’s that he is willing to do what needs to be done for the team. He also appears to have a good relationship with coach Dwane Casey and will likely see the opportunities that exist as a backup point guard.
After all, Jose had to learn to accept his role as a backup on Spain’s national team when Ricky Rubio started to emerge as a star. Jose did what had to be done for the team, even though he likely hated it on the inside.
I respect Jose’s disappointment with the change in role, how he was treated by the front office (having his name publicly passed around the rumour mill constantly), how the team seemed to not appreciate his contributions, and how they seem to be doing everything in their power to move him. I see why he would be upset with the only NBA team he has ever played for and one that he has given his all for in ech of his 7 seasons.
Jose, in spite of the way he has been treated, has always shown a willingness to do what is right for the team. During the 07/08 season he stepped up as a starter when needed and when asked, went back to the bench to allow TJ Ford to be more productive in a starting role. Even this past year he held back rejoining the starting lineup in favour of Jarryd Bayless, who was on a solid stretch as the teams starter.
His past actions seem to indicate that he would happily step aside once again if it was in the best interest of the club. I’m sure a solution can be worked out that is best for the Toronto Raptors and Jose Calderon.
Jose belongs in Raptor red. It would be very fitting if he continued and finished his career with Toronto. He’s a fan favourite and it would be strange to see him wearing another uniform.
If he is to stay Jose needs to accept and embrace his new role on the team and the Raptors need to convince him that Toronto is the right place for him.
Hopefully he stays in the only NBA city he’s known and helps lead and develop a strong second unit. Toronto needs Numero Ocho.
The Zan Tabak Herald