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Free Agent Stock Watch: Jose Calderon

It's been nearly five years since Jose Calderon last hit the open market. Back in the summer of 2008, the point guard was coming off a season in which he established career-highs in PPG (11.2), APG (8.3), FG% (.519), PER (20.5), and a handful of other categories. The performance earned Calderon a five-year, $45MM contract from the Raptors, a deal that will come to an end this June.

Calderon still hasn't topped a few of those marks he established in 2007/08, but the last five seasons have shown that his breakout year was no fluke. Since signing that lucrative deal with the Raps, Calderon has averaged 11.0 PPG, 7.9 APG, and a 17.5 PER, along with excellent shooting percentages (.474/.408/.892).

While he has been remarkably consistent to date, Calderon will be entering his age-32 season this fall. Steve Nash is living proof that it's possible for a point guard to have his best years in his 30s, but Nash is probably the exception, rather than the rule. In Calderon's case, we shouldn't expect him to get any better, though it's also safe to assume his production shouldn't fall off a cliff anytime soon. Considering his age and the new CBA, Calderon won't get another five-year contract, but a multiyear deal, perhaps for three seasons, appears likely.

After spending the first seven and a half seasons of his NBA career in Toronto, Calderon was sent to the Pistons in January's three-team Rudy Gay blockbuster. The Spaniard has expressed a willingness to listen to the Raptors if there's interest from his old team this summer, but it's his new team that appears to have the most interest in keeping him long-term. GM Joe Dumars and the Pistons have made no secret of the fact that they'd like Calderon to remain in Detroit beyond this season, helping the club's young bigs (Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond) grow and develop.

Unlike the Raptors, who figure to have only the mid-level exception at their disposal in July, the Pistons are poised to clear a huge amount of cap room this summer, with Calderon's $11.05MM salary and Corey Maggette's $10.92MM cap hit among the contracts coming off the books. Even if the team intends to pursue marquee free agents, it should have plenty of room to re-sign Calderon as well.

Of course, the Pistons and Raptors won't be the only teams in the mix for Calderon. Although he's not a strong defender, Calderon's steady offensive efficiency should attract interest from teams with a hole at the point and no way of acquiring an elite option. The Mavericks and Jazz are a couple clubs that could fit the bill, depending on how they end up using their cap space.

In addition to being unlikely to match the five years he received on his last deal, Calderon probably isn't a great bet to land the $9MM annual salary he got back in 2008. Still, he'll almost certainly receive more than mid-level money, which figures to reduce the number of potential suitors for his services. David Mayo of recently predicted a $7-8MM annual salary for Calderon, while Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press estimated something slightly lower, at $6-7MM annually. I think both Detroit scribes are in the ballpark, and I could see Calderon inking a three-year deal worth north of $20MM.

Calderon isn't a truly elite point guard, and his defense leaves something to be desired, but there aren't many players in the NBA more capable of running an offense. Calderon's talent and ability on that side of the ball should ensure that at least two or three suitors make competitive bids for his services, but I expect the Pistons to ultimately win out.

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