As the trade deadline approaches, it’s important to take a look at some of the so-called tradeable assets on this Raptors team. What are the strengths and weaknesses of a player, looking at the current and future possibilities, and of course salary situations.
Salary: $2.5 million expires this year. Restricted Free Agent
Strengths: Perhaps the most consistent point guard in the league who doesn’t do much of anything flashy. Highest assist-to-turnover ratio in the league. He also has a surprisingly consistent shooting percentage from beyond the arc to within the arc. Plays the screen and roll extremely effectively and is not afraid to make a pass that leads to a pass. Ability to score off the dribble if he can get a lane to the basket. Very high free throw shooting percentage.
Weaknesses: Has yet to show the ability to completely take over a game from his passing to his shooting. Defensively, he is consistently out muscled by many point guards, or gets beaten off the bounce, making him a very system-based defender. Not great at stealing the ball, and has some jitters still in clutch situations (i.e. turnovers and missed free throws).
Comments: Trade Calderon at the beginning of the year? Well, it was first suggested at the end of last year that the Raptors may have to part with Calderon in order to get a slashing guard/forward that was sorely needed on this team. The Raptors still don’t have that slasher yet, but Calderon has proven to be a great insurance policy ever since Ford went down.
I made the suggestion it might be silly to trade Calderon during this year for several reasons. For one thing, if Calderon were to regress, it was entirely possible that the Raptors could sign him for less money than they might have thought. However, if the plays out of his mind, then the Raptors still have an ability to match any team’s offer with their own. At the end of the day, it’s looking like the Raptors will have to sign him if only for the fact that it looks like Ford’s career longevity is a large question mark.
That being said, Calderon is a guy that is going to have to keep developing his game, especially defensively. He has shown that he might be a liability on defense, which is a problem that will have to be resolved in the future. If he can at least cut down on the guards posting up on him, it’ll help his team reduce the need to double team his man, and take care of one of the problems that have plagued him recently. In addition, he still doesn’t have the endurance at this stage of his career to go beyond 40 minutes or so on a consistent basis. So that means he’s going to need some kind of backup if he indeed is turned into the number one point guard on this team. All of that leads to the fact that it seems that Colangelo recognizes the value of my most favourite player on the Raptors squad, which along with the Ford situation guarantees that Jose Calderon will be a Raptor for a long time.
Verdict: Off the block due to his unique abilities as a point guard and the uncertainty of TJ Ford’s future.