Bob Finnan of The News-Herald rounds up the latest NBA rumors in his weekly column, and though he usually focuses on the Cavs, his latest dispatch is heavy on Pistons news. We'll hit the highlights here:
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 MLive.com 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.
Last week, Pistons point guard Jose Calderon said that he wasn't ready to close the door on a reunion with the Raptors after spending an enjoyable seven-and-a-half years there. Even though Calderon might have an affinity for Toronto, it's unlikely that he'll be in red-and-black next year because of their cap situation. Besides, based on recent comments from Joe Dumars, it seems like he's appreciated in Detroit. Here's more on Calderon and the rest of the Central..
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Jose Calderon and the Pistons will play the point guard's old team tonight for the first time since he was traded by the Raptors to Detroit two months ago. Calderon is headed for free agency, and the Pistons haven't made their desire to re-sign him a secret, but could the Spaniard also consider returning to the club with whom he spent the first seven and a half years of his career? Here's the latest on Calderon....
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars made it clear after the late-January trade that brought Jose Calderon over from Toronto that he would make every effort to retain him for the long term. In the 23 games since then, Dumars tells Keith Langlois of NBA.com that nothing has caused him to waver from that stance.
“It’s been very good to have a guy like Jose, who’s a veteran, true point guard, leader, on your team,” he said. “A lot of the stuff he brings is exactly an area that we needed to get better in, so that’s why I really enjoying watching him. The results are not where we want them to be, but in the middle of the season for where your team is right now, it was never the expectation that Jose would come in and just turn everything around for us.”
Some speculated that Detroit would lean towards letting Calderon walk to free up more cap space this summer. The deal that brought Calderon to the Pistons cost the club Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, so it stands to reason that they would lean towards keeping him. Their cap space could theoretically allow them to pursue someone like Brandon Jennings, but Calderon would obviously be a much more affordable alternative.
In 23 games for the Pistons, Calderon is averaging 11.7 PPG with 6.9 APG in 31.3 minutes per contest.
The Raptors appear likely to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and there are questions about whether GM Bryan Colangelo, who has presided over all five lottery trips, will be back after his contract expires this summer. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, as part of his leaguewide roundup, shares thoughts from Colangelo on the state of his team. The GM takes an optimistic tone, one shared by his key acquisition this season.
"Since I’ve been there, I’ve loved it," Rudy Gay said. "It’s been great. The fans are great, and it’s a great organization. I love it so far. Instead of complaining about it, you’ve got to embrace it. It’s by far not a bad situation."
Here's what Colangelo had to say:
On the rebuilding process and patience regarding a Jose Calderon trade:
“We started a process two and a half years ago when Chris (Bosh) left, and rebuilding’s not fun, not for the faint of heart. But you know, you take these steps and you try to put yourself in a position to make steps. I think by virtue of us being real patient and strategic the last couple of years, this past summer we had a chance to pick up Kyle (Lowry) in a deal, and we had a chance to follow it up with (Gay). That doesn’t happen if we had done something differently with Jose last year."
On the team's improvement:
"You’re talking about a team that’s really young. You’ve got a changing dynamic, you’ve got new faces. Right now, there’s a little bit of a settling-in process for everyone to kind of understand what we have. But what we feel we have after the horrendous start (4-19) is a playoff-caliber team because we’re playing .500 ball. But I think this team is going to get much better just through internal growth."
On Gay and the ability to recruit free agents to Toronto:
“There is a higher level of credibility with Rudy on our team — call it star power the great talent that he is. I’m going to tell you that the guys we’ve had in Toronto love the city, love the way they’ve been treated, and it’s a top five North American city, hands down. Let me tell you something, it’s cold everywhere on the East Coast. And it’s not as north as everyone thinks."
Derrick Rose's return to the Bulls may be just around the corner, as Rose's doctor has cleared him to play, according to Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com. The Bulls guard still isn't entirely comfortable dunking off his left foot, and isn't 100% ready mentally to make his 2012/13 debut, so the club isn't pressuring him, writes Isaacson. But it sounds as if Rose will return well in advance of the postseason, perhaps within the next week or two. As we look forward to seeing the former MVP back on the court, let's round up a few more items out of the Central Division....
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Saturday evening:
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld says that last week's quiet deadline could lead to a noisy offseason this year, with quite a handful of those who were rumored to be moved set to hit free agency. Kennedy provides a list of this summer's top 20 free agents along with a primer of each player's situation to boot. One interesting situation involves Oklahoma City's Kevin Martin, who has already been given the impression that the Thunder would like to keep him for the long-term. However, Kennedy opines that a strong post-season could increase the shooting guard's stock to the point where Oklahoma City may have to let him go - as they did with James Harden - if his price tag becomes too high. Here are a few more tidbits we've gathered up from the NBA this evening:
As we continue counting down the days to next week's trade deadline, let's catch up on a few odds and ends from around the NBA: