JULY 6th, 3:16pm: There's a "growing sense" around the league that the Raptors will either trade or keep Calderon, rather than amnestying him, says ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter).
JULY 1st, 11:52am: The Raptors are trying to trade Calderon so that they don't need to amnesty his expiring contract, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Stein adds in a second tweet that the Raps are seeking a trade partner with a big enough trade exception or chunk of cap space to absorb Calderon's salary. The Nuggets are the only team with a trade exception large enough for Calderon's contract, so finding a deal could be tricky.
JUNE 29th, 6:09pm: Colangelo has clarified his statements, telling Steve Kyler, another HoopsWorld.com writer, that he hasn't decided whether to use the amnesty clause yet (Twitter link). Colangelo also told Kyler the team will have $11MM to sign free agents, and if they need more than that, he might use the amnesty clause on any one of his players, including Calderon (Twitter links).
4:56pm: Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo told the media today that he plans to use the amnesty clause on point guard Jose Calderon, according to Stephen Brotherston of HoopsWorld.com. The move is expected to be a precursor to the team's pursuit of free agent point guard Steve Nash. It will free up Calderon's $10,561,982 salary for next season from the Raptors' salary cap, though Calderon will still get that money from the team. The team has also declined its $1,112,500 option on Solomon Alabi, freeing even more cap space.
There has been speculation that the Raptors would make such a move, but Colangelo said as late as April that the team intended to hold on to Calderon, who was set to enter the final season of a five-year, $45MM deal he signed in 2008. More recently we heard the Raptors were willing to include Calderon in a deal to acquire a first-round pick. Calderon averaged 10.5 points and 8.8 assists per game with a 16.7 PER last season in his seventh year with Toronto after signing as an undrafted free agent.
Colangelo didn't specifically mention Nash when he spoke with Brotherston and others in the media, but it's clear that Nash, a native of Canada and general manager of the Canadian national team, is the Raptors' primary target in free agency, Brotherston says. Nash has said he's seeking a three-year deal. Colangelo said the team will also look to sign a small forward.
Luke Adams and Chuck Myron also contributed to this post.