The writing was on the wall when Bryan Colangelo traded a first-round pick (and Gary Forbes) for point guard Kyle Lowry. Jose Calderon’s days as the starter in Toronto were finished. Both Colangelo and Calderon hinted that a trade would be ideal for both parties. Coming off a seven-game stretch as the starter earlier this season where he twice posted 15+ assists, there may never be a better time to trade Calderon.

Dwane Casey has experimented with a two-point-guard lineup, and it hasn’t worked. Kyle Lowry and Calderon both need the ball in their hands to be effective and more to the point, Jose’s atrocious defence makes it difficult to leave him on the court in crunch time. Looking at the big picture – it doesn’t make sense to carry a $10 million veteran backup point guard on a 4-13 team that is building for the future.

Before looking at what kind of return the Raptors could get in a Calderon deal, let’s examine the asset they have…


There are two skills that Jose has worked tirelessly to improve. He came into the league with a broken jump shot (16% from three as a rookie) but he’s improved that to become one of the most efficient jump-shooters in the league (46% from three this year).

Early in his career, Calderon had an inflated assist-to-turnover ratio based on making extremely safe passes around the perimeter. He now makes higher risk/reward passes and still manages to keep his turnovers down. Calderon deserves credit for developing this aspect of his game without having the team suffer from his learning curve. Here we see his progression as a passer:

Calderon Assists

For Layups / Dunks

For Jump Shots

Assists/game (NBA rank)





7.8 (7th)





8.8 (4th)





8.8 (4th)





8.2 (5th)


Calderon’s primary weakness on offence is his inability to beat defenders off-the-dribble without the use of a screen. He doesn’t have a quick enough first step or a convincing enough crossover to get past his man. Using a pick-and-roll, it takes him at least five seconds to initiate any sort of offence. If the shot clock is winding down, most teams rely on their point guard to create quickly. Toronto can’t do that with Jose at the point.


We see it every single night – he’s a turnstile. He’s a traffic conductor. He’s a sieve. For every bucket he creates on offence, he gives at least one back at the other end.

The most incomprehensible aspect of his defence is how often he drifts into a help position. When you are the worst perimeter defender on the floor, there are very few circumstances in which you should be helping. The number of times Jose has been caught standing in “no-man’s land” between a help position and his check is beyond countless.

Although his defensive principles have improved slightly under Dwane Casey, the 31-year old Calderon still doesn’t possess the necessary foot speed to defend guards in this league and it places extreme stress on a defence if they can’t defend the initial point of attack. Young frontcourt players have a hard time staying out of foul trouble when the opposing point guard is constantly in the paint.

To put his defence into context, let’s watch as Jose becomes the only player in NBA history to have his ankles broken by a simple jab-step:

From a Toronto perspective, there are two things they must accomplish in a Calderon trade. Primarily, they should be looking for a quality prospect to be part of this core moving forward. They will also need a backup point guard to run the second unit in the short term. John Lucas III doesn’t have enough size to defend and his shoot-first tendencies aren’t ideal for the leader of a second unit. One player can satisfy both of Toronto’s objectives, but that is unlikely since teams probably won’t give up a talented, young backup point guard to take on the expiring contract of a defensively inept, veteran point guard.

Looking at teams that could conceivably view Jose as an upgrade at the point, I’ve come up with three model trades.

Utah trades Enes Kanter & Mo Williams to Toronto for Jose Calderon & Ed Davis.

Sacramento trades Isaiah Thomas, Travis Outlaw & Francisco Garcia to Toronto for Jose Calderon & Ed Davis.

Chicago trades Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Marco Belinelli & Marquis Teague to Toronto for Jose Calderon, Alan Anderson & Andrea Bargnani.

The Raptors aren’t going to make a deep playoff run this season, so if they can get pieces for the future, there is no reason not to move the longest tenured member of the team.

Comments (49)

  1. Come on Oliver, these are some bad trades dude. Mo Williams is barely an upgrade over Calderon, and there is absolutely no way I would trade Ed Davis for Enes Kanter. Ed is one of our prospects who looks like he has a very positive future, and you shouldn’t be so willing to part with him yet.

    A shoot first guard prospect, who is too short to guard any position, and a couple of ageing players does not seem like an interesting trade.

    Finally, there is absolutely 0 situation I would make a trade that involved Carlos Boozer. I would prefer Bargnani over him to be honest. Although, with getting Taj Gibson, this trade is probably the least worst out of the 3. Taj is a good player, but he is really not that different from Ed Davis to be honest.

    • I think you’re underestimating Kanter. His rebound rates are off the charts (looking at his physique, u understand why). He is a far more polished scorer than Davis, and as the 3rd overall pick, it’s fair to say he has the potential to be a 20-10 guy at some point in his career. I know its just one game, but last night he had 18 pts (8-11 FG) and 7 offensive rebounds in 15 minutes!!

      • Kanter’s rebound rates are hardly off the charts, and he’s definitely not a polished scorer. He has a total rebound rate of 14.1, compared to Davis’ 21.5. He doesn’t have a jumpshot, while that seems to be a facet of Davis’ game that is rising. They are both playing basically the same amount of minutes right now, and Davis is just providing more.

        Davis just has better numbers across the board than Kanter when they’re both given the same minutes.

        • Not fair to use a 15-game sample from this season. Last year, Kanter had 18% as a rookie, while Davis had 16% as a sophomore. He’s on pace to be a superior rebounder. From what I’ve seen, Kanter has better low post moves as well

          • But it is fair to use samples almost a year old? It’s like how we used that infamous Bargnani stretch early last year to trick ourselves into thinking he could be an All-Star calibre player this year.

            I’ll admit, Kanter does have more polished low post moves, but that’s where it ends. Davis is one of those gut and grit guys, a defensive grinder who does the dirty work.

            Kanter has the ball more than Davis, through both years, and both years Ed has done more.

            We can run through individual categories for this year, per 40 minutes:

            Points? Davis. Assists? Even. Rebounds? Davis. Steals? Davis. Least Turnovers? Davis. Blocks? Davis. Least Fouls? Kanter. Alternate PER? Davis by nearly double. Regular PER is over double.

            Davis is a better finisher near the rim, but this is also because more of his buckets come from passes from Calderon, Lowry, etc.

    • Ya, I’d take Kanter over Davis, and I like Davis. Kanter’s not getting a whole lot of minutes in a crowded Utah frontcourt, but he’s a big, strong big man, something the Raptors don’t have a lot of (as we saw against Memphis). I think a future frontcourt of Valanciunas, Kanter and Amir coming off the bench would be VERY promising.

      Never been a fan of Mo Williams, but his contract is expiring, so it would be a half a year rental.

    • Are you high? Kanter is way better than Ed Davis

  2. I agree with moving Jose, and that his playmaking and expiring contract might be wanted on some teams.

    But I think you’re over estimating Jose’s trade value. The Sacramento deal is the most realistic of the three, but it also doesn’t make the Raptors any better by giving up Davis for more wings, and a PG who’s even smaller than Lucas.

  3. Cool article but all those trade ideas suck

  4. Good article and interesting stats on Jose, but to be honest I’m not a fan of those trades. I’m hoping the Raps hold on to Davis a little while longer.

  5. LOL, it’s a good thing Oliver is not GM. Stick to writing.

  6. Great analysis and insight. Horrible trades. The Raptors would give up an expiring Calderon to get an expiring shoot first Williams to back up the shoot first Lowry? And they would just trade one project big man for another who the Jazz would never give up for so little.
    kings trade is a bad joke. Raptors would give up a valuable expiring contract and a young bigman on rookie contract to take on three players who have 2-3 years left on their contracts but wont make any real positive impact. Ok maybe Thomas can be a good backup pg for years, but its not worth taking back two useless contracts
    bulls deal is pathetic. The Bulls give up Teague for an experienced backup on expiring deal…that’s the ok part of your proposal and i guess anderson for belinelli is ok too. But then chicago gives up boozer and the option to amnesty him to take back another bad contract of bargnani? And then they just throw us TAJ GIBSON who they just signed to an extension for the hell of it?? You realize this deal also caps the raptors out for the next few years as a mediocre team right?
    stick to breaking down basketball oliver. dont ever try to get into management.

    • I don’t think Calderon is a valuable expiring contract unless you find a team that has space and a need for him. It’s a tough match. I really don’t agree that Lowry is a shoot-first point guard.

      Thomas is the key to the SAC deal, not only as a backup PG, but also as insurance in case Lowry doesn’t re-sign. Salmons wouldn’t be useless since he would start at SF for the foreseeable future. Better than Fields, Anderson, Kleiza and Pietrus.

      The Bulls would probably hang up the phone quickly, but they need scoring the complement Rose and they also need another ball-handler. this gives them all of that

    • Ya! What he said, you jerk ;>

      jeez, lighten up people; it’s not Oliver’s fault that the Raps have been a joke since Isiah left.

  7. theres only one trade i want to see and thats bargs for derrick williams!111111

  8. Don’t love the trades…but he has solid value.
    Why don’t we trade jose to a decnet team, who needs a solid pg. For example Chicago or Dallas for their first rounder. Both of those picks will probably end up in the 15-20 were we could add a solid wing player, big man prospect or backup pg (Kabongo?)

    • I think if Toronto is firmly out of the race by the trade deadline, you will see a deal like this. Probably not before then, because they don’t trust John Lucas to run this second unit

  9. Not a fan of the deals.
    Calderon to Memphis for speights and wrotten?
    Calderon to Dallas for Crowder and beaubois?
    Calderon to Houston for Terrence Jones?
    Calderon to NY for shumpert?
    Calderon, Ross, Bargnani to Utah for Millsap

    • Incoming salaries can’t be more than 150% of outgoing salaries, so although I like the style of deals u have here, u need to add $ coming back to Toronto. I especially like the Dallas deal

  10. Trade Everyone. JV sucks, Andrea Sucks, Jose is beyond words, DeRozan is terribleeeee.

    ..maybe Lowry is ok.. but still, trade him too.

    FIRE COLANGELO!!!!!!!!!

    ..andddd our uniforms are terrible too. switch back to the Purple and black! and I hate the baseline raptors letters that look like a 3d sandwich board. it drives me nuts. We have the worst colour scheme out. I want purple and black back and white pinstripes!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. colangelo has essentially assembled a well paid team that is worthless. Nobody will trade anyone with any sort of real talent for the chumps that Toronto has.

    Andrea is the worst number 1 draft pick in the history of the NBA. 7 foot, slow, weak, three point specialist who sucks at threes.

  12. cant wait for the upcoming draft when we have a chance to get a really good effective player. Then colangelo drafts another slow, tall, white guy white who turns into an utter disappointment

  13. Interesting read but they’re not going to move him. Lowry’s struggles to stay healthy makes a Calderon trade even unlikelier unless the team has one of the top 3-5 worst records in the league come February.

  14. I laughed and laughed and laughed at the video.

    So sad, so true.

    The trades all suck. I’d rather keep Jose, let him expire and see what the league thinks he is worth. Maybe nobody wants him, just like nobody wanted Bayless this summer, and we can resign him for 2M/yr. At that price, I’m loving having him as the Backup PG, and also feeling no obligation to play him with Lowry – just to give him minutes.

    • Not sure where you’ve been, but Bayless is getting good minutes and playing well as the second string PG on the best team in the league right now (Grizzles).

  15. Ed Davis sure looked good coming in for the pretty much useless Bargs last game. I want to keep him around and see if he can develop into our starting PF. He seems to have most of the tools/skills to do it.

  16. They’re not going to get much for him considering he’s in the final year on his contract. If he does get traded, he’ll likely be a rental player on a championship contender. I can see the Lakers making a play for him to be Steve Nash’s backup in case Nash gets injured again.

  17. Because anytime you can trade an expiring contract and a serviceable young big man for Sacramento’s 10th, 11th and 12th best players…you have to do it.

    • Are you kidding me?! Garcia and Outlaw might not be doing a whole for Sac town this season, but Isaiah Thomas is a very very good PG. I’d make that trade in a heartbeat if I’m the Raptors. In fact, I’d trade Lowry for Thomas if the given the opportunity.

  18. I feel like killing some time so I’ll comment and the different trade proposals, although many already have.

    Utah trades Enes Kanter & Mo Williams to Toronto for Jose Calderon & Ed Davis.

    - This trade kind of seems like a wash to me just because I feel like Mo and Jose are somewhat the same skill level, though when is more of a scorer and the other distributor
    - However I see no reason/way that Jazz give up on Kanter, not for someone like Davis. Maybe I’m wrong but I think they actually value him and think he has potential. Also, they have a logjam of bigs so even they wanted to trade him they’d look for another position in return.
    -Definitly can see this happening.

    Sacramento trades Isaiah Thomas, Travis Outlaw & Francisco Garcia to Toronto for Jose Calderon & Ed Davis.

    -I guess here the Kings get rid of bad contracts and get a solid passing point guard to distribute the ball to their shoot-first young guys like Cousins and Evans.
    - However I just don’t see them giving up on Isaiah Thomas just yet. He seems to have regressed this year but last year he showed he can contribute and has potential, so I’d think they’d rather wait it out.
    -I can see this happening but giving up on Thomas seems like too much.

    Chicago trades Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Marco Belinelli & Marquis Teague to Toronto for Jose Calderon, Alan Anderson & Andrea Bargnani.

    -I suppose this trade works for the Bulls because they get rid of Boozer’s contract and actually get something in return (versus talks of amnestying him). However they still get Bargs’ contract back and I think that enough would scare them away. They want to get rid of contracts, and although Bargs can contribute (sometimes) he’s still not worth that investment for the Bulls.
    -Alan Anderson has no value imo.
    -Giving up Taj just kills the whole deal. He’s their best defender and although it doesn’t seem like he’ll be a consistent scorer, there’s no way they give up a guy that is game changer defensively. Especially someone they just resigned, thus have faith in.
    -I think Bargs’ contract and Taj (depending on how much the Bulls are invested in him) kills the deal.

  19. Very bad trades I mean I think theres a good chance barg and jose will be traded in the same deal but its jit going to be close to any of those trades. Raps want an all star worthy player in return because jose is very valuable and bargnani is after all the former first overall pick. Guys like paul millsap, pau gasol should be what colangelo’s after

  20. I think everyone is overestimating Bargnani’s and Calderon’s worth… you have to ask yourself, who is gonna pay 33 million over the next 2 and a half years for bargnani? He can’t rebound, he can’t defend, and he’s an inconsistent shooter. I’m not saying everything he does is bad, or that hes incapable of great games, but only that he’s not worth anywhere close to 33 million. Jesus, I can’t believe we are paying andrea and demar upwards of 70 million dollars over the next few years.

  21. Bryan Colangelo should have been fired last year. Just a terrible GM. He feels that just because his team is located in Canada he has to overpay average players. Landry Fields, Hedo Turkoglu, Demar Derozan, Andrea Bargnani etc. This guy is a drain on Canadian Basketball. His draft picks aren’t very good either. Guarantee no other team would hire him for a long long time if we fired him

  22. The problem with Colangelo trading Calderon is that in order to get anything back of value , he’d have to take back a longer contract. That’s something he would never do because it would take away his beloved cap room. It was the same with Barbosa last year. Colangelo only got back a second round pick for him, because he valued the cap room over anything else.

    • yeah but with that cap room he was able to overpay Fields in an attempt to get Nash and then extend Demar with an overpriced premature contract extension. So in the end that cap space was really valuable….. um hold on something doesn’t sound right there.

      • I’m not suggesting he’s right in doing so. Not in the least. In fact, I think his attraction to “financial flexibility” is one of his biggest flaws as a GM. Well, that and his apparent inability to judge talent.

  23. Possible we can get a late first rounder for calderon? Like what the lakers gave up for ramon sessions? I would rather we play Lowry for more minutes as PG since he’s the closest thing to a superstar we have and let lucas get those 10 mins a game.

  24. Before everyone hates on these trades you need to understand that Calderon isn’t that good – and won’t get that much in return. Some deals I would do:

    Calderon and Davis to Okc for Reggie Jackson, pj3 and petkins(just to take the salary)
    Calderon, bargnani, Ross for Paul George, mahimi and Augustine (unlikely)
    Calderon and bargnani to SA for mills/de colo, Leonard and some salary

    • I can possibly see OKC doing the trade because they really not losing much and do get a good point guard as well as a solid bench contributor in Davis. However, I don’t see what we get out of it other than just dumping an expiring contract. PJ3 is intriguing but that’s about it and I really can’t see him being more then a solid 6th man.

      The Indiana trade won’t happen, they won’t give up Paul George like that. He may be inconsistent but he’s still an important part of the team, has had flashes of brilliance and fits well when Granger comes back.

      The Spurs trade, also can’t see happening. The Spurs are doing well as is, the last thing they need to do is take on a no-defense point guard and a huge contract like Bargs just so they can have the right to lose one of their young guys in Leonard.

  25. Although I’m a huge fan of making pretend trades for the sake of it I think that Jose’s value as a player and as a expiring is wildly over-rated.

    Even packaged with a prospect you’re not going to get almost any of the players I’ve seen mentioned in comments above.


  27. jose sucks, you arent going to get anything for him lol, also… who the hell wants a player who can only play one side of the floor

  28. lowry is a much better point guard. Just get rid of jose and barnshitty for someone decent. someone who is aggressive and plays angry. get rid of derozan too because these guys clearly don’t seem too upset that they are losing every game. Last night when derozan got the ball for the last shoot i knew 100% he would miss, and he did. has he ever hit a game winner is his career. is her really worth the 40 million colangelo????

  29. The compelling reason to keep both is Calderon is 31 and Lowry is 26. Thats 5 year worth of services.

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