I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t think trading Jose Calderon is as dire a need as a lot of other Raptors fans believe. It’s not the worst thing in the world if Calderon is the team’s starting point guard heading into next season. Having said that, I’m obviously still of the belief that if you can find a deal that gives the Raptors more flexibility, draft picks and young assets to build with, I’m all for it.

With that, and given that the NBA’s trade deadline is now just a week away (Thursday, March 15), here are three realistic trade proposals I’ve come up with involving Calderon and the Raptors. The key word here is “realistic.” I didn’t try to find trades that land the Raptors a superstar or a first round pick from a cellar dwelling team. These are all deals that I believe could conceivably help both teams involved and that would all work, according to ESPN’s trade machine.

Trade 1: Toronto trades Jose Calderon to Portland for Raymond Felton ($7.5 million expiring contract) and a draft pick

This is the trade most fans are talking about, and it does make a lot of sense for both teams. Portland gets an obvious upgrade at the point in Calderon, who they can keep next season, while the Raptors get a point guard who can simply finish the season in Toronto, but more importantly, the Raps get an expiring contract. I would want the Trail Blazers to throw in a draft pick, as Calderon is a much more valuable player than Felton is right now. The problem is that the Blazers could be a lottery team, and I can’t see them parting with a lottery pick just to acquire Jose.

Trade 2: Toronto trades Jose Calderon to Atlanta for Kirk Hinrich ($8.1 million expiring contract) and a draft pick

While Josh Smith could be on his way out of Atlanta, as off right now, the Hawks are still a legitimate Eastern Conference playoff team that I can’t see blowing things up and rebuilding just yet. They could be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, but there are also stretches where they look poised to make another deep run. With this deal, Atlanta improves greatly at the point and gets a lead guard who does a fine job taking care of the ball, something I’m sure a playoff team might value. Just like with my proposed Portland trade, the Raptors get a half capable point guard on a fairly large expiring contract to finish off this rebuilding season. And just like the Portland deal, I’d still want the Hawks to throw in a draft pick to even things out. Atlanta should be picking somewhere between 17 and 25 in the draft, so they might be more willing to cough up a first round pick than the Blazers. Though perhaps second round picks are more realistic in these proposed deals.

Trade 3: Toronto trades Jose Calderon to Utah for Devin Harris or for Trade Exception and draft pick

While I see a Calderon for Harris swap as “realistic,” I would not support such a trade. Harris will still be owed $8.5 million next season, so the Raptors would basically be downgrading their position at the point simply to save a couple million dollars next year. For anyone thinking Devin Harris is still a younger point guard with some untapped potential, he’s actually only 17 months younger than Calderon. This would be making a deal simply for the sake of making a deal. It doesn’t make much sense for the Raptors. As for the other proposed trade with the Jazz, the Raptors could simply take on a $9.7 million trade exception (from the Mehmet Okur trade) and perhaps even take Utah’s second round pick. Minnesota owns Utah’s first round pick this season (lottery protected), and I doubt the Jazz would be willing to part with Golden State’s top-seven protected first round pick. A trade for the exception, without a player coming to Toronto in return, would give the Raptors more financial flexibility over the next year and would likely give them a better chance in the draft lottery.

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If the Mavericks weren’t in the running for Deron Williams and/or Dwight Howard this summer (and I believe they are the dark horse team that could scoop up both), I’d suggest a Calderon for Kidd trade that nets the Raptors a $10.1 million expiring contract. While I think Calderon would be an upgrade over Kidd for Dallas, I don’t think the Mavs would be willing to mess much with their chemistry or would be willing to mess with their advantageous cap situation this off-season.

Worth mentioning: The two teams who might just need Jose Calderon the most, or at least who are in most need of a point guard, are the Lakers and the Magic. The problem is that neither team has the type of assets Toronto covets and even the Lakers’ trade exception from the Lamar Odom deal wouldn’t cover Calderon’s nearly $10 million salary this season. For the Lakers or Magic to acquire Jose from the Raptors, the deal would have to involve a third team or more. If L.A. or Orlando can get a third team involved that brings attractive assets to the table for Toronto, then either team could be in the mix.

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All of the proposed deals mentioned involve the Raptors clearing cap space for this off-season, but it’s important to remember that Toronto probably doesn’t figure into any of the big free agent targets’ plans. If Calderon had two years or more left on his deal, I’d want the Raptors to rid themselves of that contract as soon as possible. But realistically, Jose’s contract doesn’t hamper the Raps this summer (Toronto should have at least $10 million in cap space) given the team’s still modest expectations.

This is why as enticing as cap space would be, I still say that the Raptors should be looking for draft picks or young assets in potential Calderon deals. If there isn’t a good deal to be made, then there’s nothing wrong with letting Jose run the offence with a team that will once again be young and fairly inexperienced next season.

Comments (26)

  1. Both the Utah/Portland draft picks are intriguing now that both teams are borderline playoff as well as borderline lottery. I think if the Raptors traded for Devin Harris they would buy out his contract or use the amnesty on him, which may work just as well as an expiring contract as long as they get a first rounder.

    But I actually like the idea of working out a deal with Utah, because they have two first rounders, so they would probably give one up, plus I think they may be willing to give up either Millsap or Jefferson if you throw in Barbosa in the deal (so they can get Kanter and Favors more minutes). Which, may even be beneficial for JV too, to ease him into the NBA as a role player.

    What do you think of:
    Calderon+Barbosa for Harris+Millsap or/Jefferson + 1st Round Pick
    Calderon+Barbosa for Watson+Millsap or/Jefferson + 1st Round Pick (Utah would use TE for this one)

    Either way, with any pick they get they could trade both to move up in the draft.

    • I also potentially like Indiana as a trade partner, assuming they still want to part with Granger:

      Calderon + Barbosa + Gray for Collison + Granger + First round pick.

      • Pass. I wouldn’t be surprised if JJ’s game improves to the point where he is at least close to a slipping Granger. Despite all of the hype in years past, Collison isn’t an upgrade on Calderon. And As for Barbosa+Gray for their first round pick, I think I’d pass on that as well because I want to win next year, not tank for yet another year.

        • I think Collison can still be a great pg for a team like Toronto. I think he lost the hype because he just doesn’t fit in with Indiana. If he played anything like on New Orleans, it’d be a great pickup for the Raptors.

          Collison
          DeRozan
          Granger
          Bargnani
          A. Johnson

          Bench- Bayless, J Johnson, Valanciuinas, Davis, Kleiza + 2 first round draft picks.

          You don’t think the above team would make the playoffs next year? I think they would, easily.

          • I think if you throw Bargs back into the mix this year and add a GM that didn’t telegraph to his team that they were supposed to be tanking this year, then THIS team would have made the playoffs. BUT they did need to tank to get off the treadmill. Problem is, they just aren’t tanking hard enough to make it work. Expect Barbosa or JC to be traded this week for picks/expiring garbage.

          • Valanciunas would start over Amir Johnson; you’re crazy if you think they’d start a 6’9 PF as their center over a 7-footer who is a defender

          • Crazy, no. Realistic, yes. I think JV will eventually be the starting center, but I highly doubt they start him right away. Would not surprise me at all if he didn’t start for the first 15-20 games or even more.

    • Teams can only amnesty players that were on their rosters when the CBA was signed. You can’t amnesty a player acquired via a trade or free agency. Therefore, if Toronto were to trade for Devin Harris, they would NOT be able to amnesty him.

  2. I think making the team worse in the short term via a Calderon trade is just as beneficial to the team as it would be to acquire another first rounder in 2012. Since I don’t see the latter as being a realistic scenario because most executives realize that Calderon is a ticking time bomb health wise and won’t blow the Raptors doors off with an offer, the Raptors should just be happy to move him.

    I don’t know why so many people choose to overlook the albatross he was as recently as last season.

    • If he stays healthy next year, he is more valuable than a 17th or lower first rounder plus a lesser version of Bayless.

      HOWEVER, I do agree that moving Jose or Barbosa should have been done a month ago to help with this season’s tanking efforts. We’ve already lost the opportunity for a top 5 pick by waiting, and now might just wind up out of the top 8 if one of the two aren’t traded asap.

      There will be a couple great PG picks in the 10-12 range this draft. If we can’t get a draft pick that high from someone for Jose, I’d say roll the dice, let him help win next year, and then either trade him next year, or let him expire for a huge cap space increase. And either trade Barbosa for a top half first rounder, or resign him to a $12M/3yr deal.

  3. BP: you cannot amnesty players that weren’t on your roster before the new CBA so the only team that can amnesty Harris is Utah.

    PBI: if losing this season is the plan a Calderon injury is no concern and then next season he is a large expiring contract a year closer to the new luxury tax penalties. Hard to see him becoming an albatross again.

    Personally I would like to hold onto him (Unless the offer is amazing) I think a having a good veteran point guard will help with the development of JV and the rest of the youth movement. Teams without good solid veteran leaders end up like the Wizards.

  4. BP: If we’re expanding on that Utah ‘change of scenery’ type deal, why not make it Calderon/Bargnani for Harris/Jefferson…

    Makes a bit more sense from a positional standpoint. Bargs would be able to tutor Kanter on the nuances of defensive lateral movement. And Utah is always on the lookout for good white players. Make it happen Colangelo!

    • Interesting idea. Though, I think giving up Calderon and Bargnani would be too much to only get back Harris and Jefferson and 1 First rounder.

      I think you would need at least both first rounders from Utah for Toronto to consider it, and I don’t know if Utah would be willing to give up both of them.

      • No, Bargs has finally put in the effort and shown enough that he is now an asset vs his contract, and will be one for years to come. You do NOT trade away any players that can be top 10 scorers in the whole league, let alone a top 5 scorer. You definitely don’t do it when he is getting paid half of what the other top 5 or top 10 scorers are making.

  5. Joseph,
    you rightfully say a huge cap space does not automatically translates into good players: nobody can see any long line of champs willing to get to Toronto.
    And getting rid of Calderon, above all, place a massive problem FOR THE FUTURE of the team: who to make the next playmaker? Good and efficient point guards do not grow on trees, and take years to get ready (i.e. Devin Harris is not yet a point guard).
    Are you guys really wanting to enjoy a full season of Bayless-driven Raptors? Seriously?
    For the sake of what, exactly?

    • I think the idea would be to get as many first round picks as possible. Then, either use them to draft a point guard, or use them to trade up and get a better player.

      A PG like Kendall Marshall would be a nice replacement, if he’s available. A lot like Jose, pass first, high AST/TO ratio.

  6. I would love to see the Raptors consolidate talent in something like the following trade… No idea if it would ever fly but seems somewhat fair to me – maybe another lottery protected draft pick would need to be included:

    Toronto trades:
    Jose Calderon
    Ed Davis

    Boston trades
    Rajon Rondo

    This would eliminate a bit of duplication we have on the roster between Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, solve Boston’s issue with Rondo and give us back top PG talent (offensive and as important defensively). Calderon would be a perfect fit on a veteran Boston team…

    Thoughts?

    • While he may be a perfect fit for Boston at the moment, if I was Boston, I’d much rather build my future team around a young Rondo than around a young Davis.

    • The trade certainly helps Toronto. But I personally don’t think Rondo’s going to be traded yet. Not because they don’t want to move him, but only because they aren’t going to get any reasonable offers for him right now, considering they want younger players and draft picks if they were to move him.

      Also, doubt they would give him to a team in the same division. Realistically though, your likely looking at giving up Calderon + DeRozan + Davis + Toronto’s first round pick for him. I love Rondo, but its too much, I think.

      • I agree Boston’s price would probably be too high – however I would also do a Calderon and DeRozan + 2013 future lottery protected round draft pick for Rondo trade in a heartbeat… But that’s about it from Raptors point of view. I love Rondo as a player… even though I hate his attitude sometimes. He’s be a perfect Dwayne Casey point guard too.

        • “Calderon and DeRozan + 2013 future lottery protected 1st”

          Yes, I’d do it. Salaries probably work, but I think Boston would want an extra piece. Maybe Amir or JJ. That would make me dislike it. Although if you can swing barbosa into it as well somehow, it could give Boston one last good shot at a title this year.

          Barbosa $7.6, JC $9.7, Davis $2, DeRozan $2.6, Amir $5.5, Gray $2.5
          Rondo $10, Allan $10, Bass $4.25, O’Neal $6.2

          If it was just a Bos/Tor trade, with no third team involved, it would have to be something like JC+Barbosa+(pick from the Toronto list above) for Rondo, Bass and O’Neal.

          The only Bos player I’d want is Rondo.
          JC+Barbosa alone would make them a better team this year, and they could add one of our young talented players and a lottery protected 2013 pick.

          Toronto would tank more, Rondo would learn to work with Casey and the rest of the team this year, then make a playoff run next year. Dump Bass/O’Neal asap.

    • Why would Beantown dump their best and youngest player for an older injury prone PG who is half the talent and a totally unproven forward who is too slim to compete?

      Rondo>PP>KG>RA>>>the rest of the team

      I mean even if you threw in DD I can’t imagine Ainge not just hanging up and putting BC on his blocked callers list.

      Maybe JC+JV+a 1st would be closer to getting ‘er done but anything with JV is too high a price IMO

  7. “…I think Calderon would be an upgrade over Kidd for Dallas….”

    *insert* what you talkin’ about Willis .gif *insert*

    • Have u seen Kidd this year? How great someone “was” does not matter an ounce to comparing relative value now. It’s not an outlandish statement.

  8. one of the best comments i’ve seen on this blog thus far

  9. IF Calderon is traded, I’d, at the very least, want a mid-first round pick for him. I’d do the Portland or Utah deal, for that reason (only if they included their pick) but I don’t see Utah giving up theirs. I think Calderon is too valuable as a trade asset AND to the Raptors to give him up for cap space that may not even help the team.

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