Every year around this time, it seems, there are suggestions that the Raptors could do better at point guard than Jose Calderon. And yet he still remains in Toronto, now in his seventh season as a Raptor. He's barely a double-figure scorer, averaging 10.9 PPG this season after putting up only 9.8 PPG a year ago, but his 8.8 APG this season has him third in the league in that category. That number isn't a fluke, either, as two of the previous three seasons he averaged 8.9 APG.
Perhaps the reason he pops up in trade rumors so consistently is that other teams covet his playmaking ability. Yesterday we passed along Marc Stein's report in which he said the Lakers have inquired about Calderon, but the Raptors are unwilling to take on salary in such a deal. Calderon makes $9.78MM this season, so he wouldn't fit into the $8.9MM trade exception the Lakers have, and other parts would have to be added to the deal.
The reason the Raptors may be so reluctant to add salary this year might be because they're bumping up against the luxury tax threshold. Strange as it may be for a team with an 11-25 record, the Raps' $69.72MM cap hit this year, according to Storytellers Contracts, is not far below the $70.307MM tax line. That may also be reason why Toronto would be reluctant to offer Calderon to the Suns in a deal that would bring home native Canadian Steve Nash, who makes more than Calderon does.
Hasan Alanam of Canada.com explored five possible destinations for Calderon last month, pegging the Lakers, Hawks, Blazers, Jazz and Magic as potential suitors. There's even a rumor suggesting he'll end up in Orlando as part of a Dwight Howard deal. While the possibilities abound, don't expect this year's trade deadline to be any different for Calderon. I'm inclined to believe he'll be sticking around, but next season, when he 's due $10.56MM in the final year of his contract, may be when the Raps finally make their move.