Jose Calderon

Central Notes: Maker, Evans, Pistons, Osman

Thon Maker has given the Pistons an energetic boost since he was acquired from the Bucks in a three-team swap at the trade deadline, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes.

The 7-footer fell out of Milwaukee’s rotation, but has proven to be a solid backup for Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. The Pistons outscored Phoenix by 20 points when Maker was on the court Thursday, as he scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots in 28 minutes.

“He’s been great,” Griffin said of his Pistons teammate. “Just his energy, man. He’s just always everywhere. And if he’s not blocking shots, he’s swinging for the fences. It’s making people think and it’s making people be aware of where he is.”

Maker will make a guaranteed $3.57MM next season and will be eligible for a rookie scale extension with the Pistons prior to opening night.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pacers swingman Tyreke Evans admits it’s been a roller-coaster season for him, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports. Evans has battled injuries, a bout with food poisoning and the tragic death of a nephew during the course of the season. Evans’ playing time has dropped dramatically from last season, when he averaged 19.4 PPG for Memphis in 52 games. He’ll return to the free agent market after signing a one-year, $12.4MM contract from Indiana. “Yeah, it’s tough,” he told Agness. “Everybody knows what type of player I am. (Since) I got drafted, I’m better with the ball in my hands. I’m a team player and just want to win this late in my career.”
  • D’Angelo Russell‘s breakthrough season with the Nets after the Lakers gave up on him illustrates why the Pistons explored trades for young point guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Markelle Fultz prior to the trade deadline, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. The Pistons will likely continue to pursue a young point guard during the offseason, since starter Reggie Jackson has one more season left on his contract and reserves Ish Smith and Jose Calderon will be unrestricted free agents, Ellis adds.
  • Forward Cedi Osman is considered part of the Cavaliers’ future core, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports in his latest mailbag. The team could sign Osman to an extension this summer but there hasn’t been any talk of doing that yet, Fedor continues. However, he’s a front-office favorite and has made positive strides in recent months. He’s shown signs of being more than just a bench rotation player and his 3-point shooting has improved, Fedor adds.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Central Division:

Wayne Selden, Bulls, 24, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $2.86MM deal in 2017
Selden was part of the Justin Holiday deal with the Grizzlies in January. He could be a restricted free agent if Chicago chooses to extend a $1.93MM qualifying offer. Selden hasn’t done anything to convince the front office to retain his rights. He had an 18-point game in a blowout loss to Detroit on Sunday but he’s mostly been a non-factor off the bench. He’s posted a minus 4.5 Box Plus/Minus Rating, according to Basketball-Reference, which runs parallel to his career rating.

David Nwaba, Cavaliers, 26, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.5MM deal in 2018
Injuries and a lack of production have made this a ho-hum season for Nwaba, who is playing for his third team in three years. He’s had occasional outbursts, such as a 22-point outing against Brooklyn this month, but has otherwise done little to dent the stat sheet. He can be a restricted free agent if the front office extends a low-cost $1.89MM qualifying offer. The cash-strapped Cavs will probably decline that option unless they see him as a rotation piece going forward.

Jose Calderon, Pistons, 37, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.39MM deal in 2018
Calderon has carved out a nice, long NBA career that began in the 2005/06 season with Toronto. He rejoined his former Raptors coach, Dwane Casey, in Detroit as a third-string point guard after some good moments in Cleveland last season. It hasn’t gone well. Father Time has clearly caught up to Calderon, who was exposed when primary backup Ish Smith was sidelined by a adductor injury. This is likely Calderon’s last hurrah, though he could remain in the league as a coach if he so chooses.

Thaddeus Young, Pacers, 30, PF (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $54MM deal in 2015
A steady, durable big man, Young has been a consistent contributor throughout his career. This year might be best, reinforcing his value in a walk year. His Box Plus/Minus rating on Basketball-Reference is a career-best 3.1 and coach Nate McMillan has flowed with praise over Young’s play and leadership. Young doesn’t post big numbers, but he fills the stat sheet and provides intangibles that endears him to teammates and coaches. He should receive another pricey, multiyear offer this summer.

Malcolm Brogdon, Bucks, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.78MM deal in 2016
An unlikely Rookie of the Year recipient after getting drafted in the second round, Brogdon has taken his play up a level or two after an injury-marred sophomore campaign. Starting for the current top seed in the East, Brogdon is averaging 15.6 PPG on 50.5% overall shooting. He’s a 42.6% shooter from distance and is virtually automatic at the free throw line (92.8%). He also rebounds well for his position and facilitates the offense (3.2 APG). Brogdon will be a restricted free agent and the Bucks may have to match a big offer sheet to retain him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Kennard, Dunn, Asik, Evans

Pistons coach Dwane Casey will use a variety of players to replace reserve guard Luke Kennard, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. Kennard suffered a separated shoulder against Cleveland on Thursday and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Rookies Bruce Brown, Khyri Thomas and Zach Lofton along with Glenn Robinson III and Jose Calderon will take turns filling up Kennard’s rotation minutes until he returns.

“It’ll be matchup driven,” Casey said of the Pistons’ plans to fill Kennard’s minutes. “Glenn does a good job of chasing guys. Some guys have trouble against length. That will be Glenn. But Bruce, he’s capable of really guarding a lot of different people. Khyri Thomas, too. Luke going down is an opportunity for Khyri, Jose to be ready. … That’s why we have 15 on the roster. We’ll have to make a decision whether we want to bring up (two-way player) Zach Lofton. This is why you stay ready for your opportunity.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn had no idea how badly he injured his knee until he returned home from Dallas, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Dunn will be out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain in his left knee. He originally thought it was just a bruise but the pain increased on the flight home on Monday and the knee locked up on him when he returned home. An MRI the next morning revealed the severity of the injury. “I think it’s unlucky. It comes with the game,” Dunn said. “I can either cry about it or try to work my way around it. I’m going to stay positive, be a man about it.”
  • The Bulls decided not to use the stretch provision on the $3MM guarantee for Omer Asik‘s 2019 salary, ESPN’s Bobby Marks confirms (Twitter link). Chicago ate the approximately $11.3MM owed to Asik this season and waived him over the weekend. The team could have chosen to stretch out the $3MM guarantee for next season over a three-year period. However, the $3MM cap hit could be erased entirely if the 32-year-old Asik is deemed medically ineligible to play. Asik is out indefinitely with inflammatory arthritis.
  • Tyreke Evans will sit out Saturday’s game against Cleveland for violating team rules, the Pacers announced in a press release. Evans, who signed a one-year, $12MM contract as a free agent this summer, said that he was late for practice and expressed remorse. “This is the most professional and team-oriented organization I have been with in my career,” he said. “They deserve my best every day and I am disappointed in myself for causing a distraction that prevents me from being able to help my team tomorrow. I will do better.”

And-Ones: Long, LiAngelo Ball, Spain

Ex-Sixers forward Shawn Long has signed a contract with New Zealand Breakers, according to a Sportando report. Long played 18 games with Philadelphia in 2016/2017, averaging 8.2 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 13 MPG. He toiled in the G League last season with the Delaware 87ers, averaging 14.6 PPG and 7.7 RPG in 33 games following a seven-game stint in China. The Timberwolves took a look at Long during a free agent mini-camp in June.

We have more from around the pro basketball world:

Calderon, Pachulia Ideal Fits In Detroit

While it’s no guarantee that either player will crack new head coach Dwane Casey‘s rotation, both newly-acquired veterans Jose Calderon and Zaza Pachulia are ideal fits to complement the Pistons‘ roster, opines Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“They can still play an NBA basketball game. They can contribute,” says senior advisor Ed Stefanski. “But if they don’t play one night, they’re not going to be moping in the locker room. They’re going to be ready to play all the time and they’re going to help these young guys become professionals.”

With both Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith returning this season, Calderon is not likely to see much time at the point guard position. However, given Calderon’s size (6’3”) and ability to shoot from long range (career 41.1% 3-point shooter), it will be interesting to see whether Calderon could play along Jackson or Smith, especially when two rookies – Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown – are likely to be relied upon for reserve shooting guard minutes.

As for Pachulia, he seems to be firmly rooted as a reserve center behind starter Andre Drummond and backups Jon Leuer and Henry Ellenson. But, with an 82-game season to play, injuries could very well force the 34-year-old Georgian big man into more minutes.

“I’m very excited about our two veterans in Pachulia and Calderon,” Stefanski added. “Both winners in the NBA. Both have won championships. Both – if you talk to people in the league – they’re as good a guys as you’re going to get, as professional as you’re going to get.”

Central Notes: LaVine, Pacers, Cavaliers, Calderon

Fresh off the Bulls officially matching the Kings’ fully guaranteed, four-year $78MM offer sheet to Zach LaVine, the 23-year-old combo guard says he is ready to prove all of the doubters wrong who wonder whether he is worth the nearly $80MM in guaranteed money that he will earn from the Bulls, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“I’m my hardest critic,” LaVine said Sunday during the Bulls’ summer league game against the Lakers in Las Vegas. “There’s nothing that any of you guys can say to me that I [don’t] take harder upon myself. I go back and critique my game every year. I’m used to people sleeping on me, and I’m also used to waking them up as well. I’m happy that I have this contract, and I’m happy that I have a little extra motivation to go out there and prove it to some people that don’t believe in me.”

“At the end of the day, I believe in myself, I believe in my work, and I’m going to show the city of Chicago it’s a good choice and I’m here to stay. I’m going to be their guy, and I’m ready to do whatever to help this team get back to that spot.”

And despite saying publicly that he was disappointed the Bulls hadn’t done more to lock him in as a restricted free agent when the free-agency period opened, LaVine backtracked from those comments after the deal with the Bulls became official, saying that he simply meant he never wanted to sign an offer sheet because he wanted to stay in Chicago so badly.

“I think a lot of that got taken out of context,” LaVine said. “The main thing that I wanted to get my point across was I wanted to just deal with Chicago. I never wanted to get [to] a point of [having to sign] an offer sheet. Regardless of whatever happened, I’m going to put that behind us. I’m happy as hell that I’m going to be able to play for the team that I want to play for.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers found unexpected success this past season and the front office deserves credit for avoiding complacency, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com opines. Indiana brought in Kyle O’Quinn, Tyreke Evans, and Doug McDermott on mid-sized deals, all moves designed to help them compete in a now-weakened Eastern Conference.
  • The Cavaliers, who are still searching for another assistant coach on head coach Tyronn Lue‘s bench, interviewed Warriors assistant coach Willie Green and Sixers assistant coach John Bryant recently, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Green has since re-upped with Golden State.
  • Because he signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, Jose Calderon likely could have chosen to play wherever he wanted to this upcoming season, opines Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. But he ended up picking the Pistons simply because he believes they can be a good team. And although he’ll likely slot in behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith on the depth chart, it’s possible new coach Dwane Casey could play two point guards at the same time, thereby opening up playing time for Calderon.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Pistons Sign Jose Calderon

JULY 7: The signing is official, the Pistons announced on Twitter.

JULY 2: The Pistons have reached an agreement with veteran point guard Jose Calderon, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes (Twitter link). League sources tell Haynes that’s worth $2.4MM, which means it’s a minimum-salary deal.

The agreement will reunite Calderon with new Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, who coached the 36-year-old several seasons ago in Toronto.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Calderon spent the 2017/18 with the Cavaliers. Although he played a modest role with the club, he was solid when called upon, averaging 4.5 PPG and 2.1 APG with a .503/.464/.800 shooting line.

While it’s a low-cost investment for the Pistons, it’s a somewhat curious one. The team was already well-stocked at the point guard spot, with Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith atop the depth chart and Langston Galloway occasionally getting ball-handling duties too. However, it’s possible Detroit has another move in mind. The club is exploring possible trades, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link), who identifies Smith, Galloway, and Jon Leuer as potential chips.

Calderon figures to take Dwight Buycks‘ place on Detroit’s roster. Buycks has a $1.6MM non-guaranteed salary for next season, but waiving him would help give the Pistons a little extra distance below the tax line, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks details (via Twitter).

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Cleveland Cavaliers

The 2017/18 season was an exhausting one for the Cavaliers and it ended the only way it possibly could: in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Warriors. While LeBron James put forth an historically impressive showing this year, the squad just wasn’t nearly deep enough to put another dent in Golden State’s dynasty.

The biggest story in Cleveland this summer will obviously be James’ forthcoming free agency. It’s no secret that the 33-year-old will have multiple realistic options to mull over this summer and the Cavaliers will have little choice but to wait and see what he decides before they set out with the rest of their plans.

To general manager Koby Altman‘s credit, the franchise was impressively proactive at the trade deadline, adding several players who could be a part of a rebuild for years to come. And to team owner Dan Gilbert‘s credit, he promoted Altman, a general manager he wanted, when there was pressure from James’ camp to retain David Griffin.

Expect the Cavs to welcome James back (and all the ensuing baggage) if the future Hall-of-Famer decides in earnest to end his career where it started, but my read of the situation is that Gilbert and company won’t exactly grovel if the King starts leaning toward taking his talents elsewhere.

Jose Calderon, PG, 36 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
It’s hard to imagine Calderon signing on for anything more than the veteran’s minimum at this stage in his career, but a solid enough 2017/18 campaign in which he started 32 games for the Cavaliers should be enough to earn him another contract. The Cavs won’t have much use for the 36-year-old if they blow things up, so expect any decision regarding Calderon to come a little later in free agency.

Jeff Green, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
It’s hard to gauge Green’s value considering he went from making $15MM in 2016/17 to the league minimum in 2017/18. Still, there’s no denying he was a bargain for the Cavaliers at just over $2MM. Despite a limited ceiling, Green is a solid role player and could be an affordable depth piece for a competitive team in Cleveland or elsewhere.

Rodney Hood, SG, 25 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $6MM deal in 2014
Less than a year ago, Hood was in line to take over scoring duties for the suddenly Gordon Hayward-less Jazz. The swingman showed on a number of occasions in the first half of 2017/18 that he was capable of being a semi-reliable primary option on offense, but injuries and the rise of Donovan Mitchell complicated the restricted free agent’s big contract year. A slow start in Cleveland, coupled with a lousy postseason and one particularly bad decision will limit his value even further. That said, if Hood draws an offer sheet in the $10MM-$14MM range this offseason, he could end up being a bargain.

LeBron James, PF, 33 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $100MM deal in 2016
Despite rampant speculation about James’ upcoming free agency, there’s no clear indication about what the superstar will do. The growing narrative is that James doesn’t have the supporting cast to compete with the likes of the superteams around him. While I’ll submit that he and his representation are partly to blame considering their insistence on leveraging James in order to land players like Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith albatross contracts, there’s no denying that the Cavs’ roster looked empirically overwhelmed by the vastly deeper Warriors in the NBA Finals.

James, who looks more formidable than ever now as a 33-year-old, will earn every single penny available to him wherever he signs, but while there will be considerably more pennies available to him if he stays in Cleveland, it’s hard to imagine that somebody with a net worth of $400MM will base his decision entirely on wealth. Narrowing down where the King might land, then, comes down to figuring out his motives. If James wants to win rings he could either sign with the Sixers or squeeze his way onto the Rockets. If he wants to set himself up for life after basketball he should probably pack up the family and head over to join the Lakers. Of course, if James wants to preserve his uniquely complicated legacy, he should think long and hard about staying in Cleveland.

Kendrick Perkins, 33, C (Down) – Signed to a two-year deal in 2018
The Cavaliers added Perkins to their big league roster in the waning days of the regular season, but seem unlikely to pick up his option for 2018/19. While the veteran was brought on to provide an additional veteran voice in the locker room, his only notable feat in the postseason was getting into sideline altercation with Stephen Curry and Drake. Perkins is relatively young to be a symbolic elder statesmen, so there’s always the possibility that he signs on with another contender in a similar enforcer-turned-unofficial coach role, but don’t forget that he’s only seen action in one NBA contest since the 2015/16 season. His career could just as easily be over.

Cavaliers Notes: LeBron, Calderon, Hill, Thompson

Only LeBron James can save the Cavaliers from an embarrassing first-round loss, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. James’ teammates haven’t been providing much help during the first three games with Indiana, hitting just 41% of their open shots, one of the worst percentages among playoff teams. Lloyd notes that youngsters Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood and veterans Jeff Green and Kyle Korver are all struggling with their shots, and even coach Tyronn Lue admits that James’ supporting cast isn’t doing enough.

The dangers of an early exit are obvious, giving James more than two months to ponder whether he wants to return to a team that couldn’t get past the first round. Lloyd adds that several Cavs veterans told him in January that the team wasn’t good enough to compete for a title and they didn’t expect it to be by June. If they turn out to be right, it could make James’ next decision a lot easier.

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers will start Jose Calderon at point guard if George Hill is unable to go tonight, relays Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Hill is listed as questionable with back spasms, tweets ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, and will receive treatment prior to the game. Hill, who had an MRI Saturday, first hurt his back in Game 1, then aggravated it chasing a loose ball Friday night. Lue chose not to put Calderon into a “tough spot” in the fourth quarter after not playing all game, Pluto adds, which meant James never got a break in the second half. He is averaging more minutes than anyone through the first three games of the playoffs.
  • Lue plans to give backup center Tristan Thompson a greater role in tonight’s game, Lloyd tweets. Thompson played just two minutes at the end of Game 1 and hasn’t gotten off the bench since. However, Lue made similar comments before the past two games, then elected not to use Thompson at all.
  • Larry Nance Jr. is chronicling his first playoff experience in a postseason blog for NBA.com. “I haven’t been surprised by anything so far,” he wrote. “I knew it was going to be a bunch of guys flying around, playing hard – and it’s been exactly that. It’s just, a couple of shots here and a couple there fall differently and it’s a completely different series. But that’s Playoff basketball.”

Injury Updates: Smart, Curry, Hill, Turner

Celtics guard Marcus Smart may be getting closer to a return, writes Marc D’Amico of NBA.com. Smart, who had surgery on his right thumb and has been sidelined since March 12, will be re-evaluated next week, coach Brad Stevens told reporters today.

“He’s doing everything in a workout that you can do,” Stevens said. “It’s just a matter of being cleared for live play.” He added that the Celtics intend to use Smart as soon as he is cleared for full contact.

Smart has been going through workouts with coaches, but is not permitted to do anything competitive until he receives medical clearance. Doctors are concerned with limiting the risk that his thumb will be re-injured once he returns to the court.

“I think it’s just a matter of you have to have that post-surgery healed enough to be able to take a hit even with a brace on it,” Stevens added. “That’s the hold up.”

There’s more injury-related news to pass on:

  • The Warriors welcomed Stephen Curry back to practice today, but have no intention to use him in the series with San Antonio, relays Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s coming along well, but don’t expect him to be Willis Reed tomorrow,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. Curry, who has sat out the past four weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee, completed several non-contact drills today without any setbacks. Doctors will re-evaluate him next weekend in hopes of a second-round return.
  • Cavaliers guard George Hill is questionable for Game 4 after experiencing back spasms Friday night, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Hill had an MRI today after playing just 30 seconds in the fourth quarter because of back soreness. Coach Tyronn Lue said veteran Jose Calderon will probably start Sunday if Hill can’t play.
  • Evan Turner was able to start today for the Trail Blazers after having a titanium plate placed in his right shoe to protect his big toe, tweets Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest. Turner suffered a bruise in Game 2 when he was kicked in the toe while chasing a loose ball.