Former Knicks point guard Jose Calderon believes he would have been better off as a backup in New York, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Calderon, who will turn 35 in September, was shipped to the Bulls last month in the trade that brought back Derrick Rose. Calderon says team president Phil Jackson made the right move in acquiring Rose and thinks he would have performed better with fewer minutes. “Like I said, I was ready for a different role and I was ready for a different role the last couple of years,” Calderon said. “Maybe there wasn’t the player to put ahead of me. I always said I wasn’t the one putting me in the starting role or playing me 35 minutes. It could’ve been a guy like a Derrick Rose and I would’ve been the backup point guard. It’s a tough position to play. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been in the league 12 years and I know what I do best or not do as well. It’s nothing personal. It’s what the team needed. Hopefully it will work better.’’
Calderon, who was later traded from the Bulls to the Lakers, will get his wish to be a reserve in L.A., where he will back up second-year point guard D’Angelo Russell. Currently training for the Olympics with the Spanish National Team, Calderon has one year left on his contract at $7.6MM, and said he hopes to play three more seasons in the NBA.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Jackson issued a challenge to his rebuilt team Thursday on social media, Berman writes in a separate piece. In a pair of tweets, Jackson wrote, “Here’s what: We have brought change to the Knicks team. The real dimension of change is how much the players what to unite in this change” and “It’s not about bonding and being friends, it’s about joining in the effort of playing HARD on every effort. #respect“ (Twitter links). Nine of the 14 players the Knicks currently have under contract weren’t with the team last season.
- The chance to win an NBA title meant more than money to Jared Sullinger when he chose the Raptors, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Sullinger, who became an unrestricted free agent this week when the Celtics pulled their qualifying offer, signed a one-year, $6MM deal with Toronto on Thursday. “Money is great but when it comes to certain situations, money can’t buy you happiness,” Sullinger said. “I think winning keeps you happy when you’re playing an 82-game season. I’ve been through a season where we lost a lot and it’s not a lot of fun.” The Raptors won 56 games this year and reached the Eastern Conference finals.
- The Nets will try to get more out of Anthony Bennett than he produced in his first three NBA stops, writes Bud Shaw of Cleveland.com. Shaw contends that former Cavaliers GM Chris Grant’s decision to take Bennett, who reached an agreement Thursday on a deal with Brooklyn, first overall in 2013 was the biggest mistake in the Cavs’ draft history.