I couldn’t pass up the Kyle Lowry to Boston trade rumours, as well as the boys over on Raptor Blog Radio talking about the latest point guard “controversy” in Toronto.
First off, the latest PG controversy.
In what has seemingly become a yearly tradition in Toronto, there are now questions about whether Calderon should replace [fill in name of this year’s other PG] as the PG of the near future. As usual, there are people on both sides. And they both have good arguments. Calderon is 31 and is not the long term answer at the PG position for the Raptors. That’s pretty clear. He’s never been a good defender and isn’t going to get better as he slows down.
Kyle Lowry is just 26 years old and is the type of PG that the Raptor organization, and their fans, have always wanted. He can create his own shot, drives the lane, plays with a chip on his shoulder and came to the Raptors with a good defensive reputation.
On paper, Lowry is clearly the better player.
The problem is that the game isn’t played on paper.
Calderon has never really gotten the respect from the fans, media or organization that he really should have. In a lot of ways, I liken him to Andre Miller, now with Denver. Every team he played for looked to replace him and then regretted trading him afterwards. Like Calderon, Miller is an unspectacular, pass-first point guard who simply runs the offense and makes those around him better. He’s not a great scorer, isn’t going to wow you with anything he does, and while he’s a good player, has never made an All Star team.
And like Calderon, Miller is really only as good as the players around him.
That, besides his defense, has been one of the biggest knocks on Calderon. And it makes little sense. That the Raptors have never made it past the first round with him as their PG and have missed the playoffs more than they’ve made them. All this is true. But it’s a flawed argument.
Calderon is not a star. That’s obvious. But if you take a look at the talent Calderon has played with during his tenure with the Raptors, it’s really hard to blame HIM for the poor record the Raptors have had. Calderon is not the type of player who can put a team on his back. What he does is try to put everyone else in a position to succeed. But when the talent is lacking, he can only do so much.
And while Lowry certainly has more “talent” than Calderon, the PG position is about more than just talent. One of Lowry’s strengths, the way he plays with a chip on his shoulder, is also a weakness, because it leads to poor decision making. And while he can certainly create his own shot better than Calderon, he doesn’t run an offense as well, which really should be the primary skill of a PG.
This post is not to argue to keep or trade one or the other, quite frankly. Personally, I think by this time next year, both players should be in different uniforms. And this might be one way to make it happen…
With Rajon Rondo out for what appears to be an entire year, the Celtics will be searching for a PG to replace him in hopes of returning to the playoffs. The Raptors have two.
So without further ado, here is are my proposals. First, trading Jose Calderon, who is an expiring contract…
TRADE PROPOSAL #1
Boston’s 2013 or 2014 first round pick.
Now, this is something that Bryan Colangelo would NEVER do. He never takes back longer contracts because he’s too in love with cap room, even thought he’s never been able to use it very well, in Toronto. Jeff Green has an awful contract that Boston never should have signed him to (he’s got 3.5 more years at around $9 million per year) and he has not lived up to. Calderon will help them this year but requires no financial commitment beyond this season. They might be desperate enough to get rid of Green’s contract and to get a PG that will help them make the playoffs again to offer up an unprotected (or perhaps top 5 protected) draft pick.
I think the only way the Raptors are going to get anything of value for Calderon’s expiring contract is to take back a longer one in return. Otherwise, why would a team give up anything of value in order to rent a player for a few months?
TRADE PROPOSAL #2
Of course, there was talk of trading Rajon Rondo even before the injury, and now that he’s gone for at least a year, Boston might be willing to part with him for the right price…
Regular readers will know about my desire to try and get a top pick in 2014 (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, etc), and this trade would go a long way to laying the groundwork for that.
The Raptors would finally have their All Star PG, but he wouldn’t make an impact over the next year and probably more. Green and Lee’s contracts are bad, but taking them would probably be necessary to facilitate the deal.
TRADE PROPOSAL #3
If the Celtics don’t want Calderon, maybe they can be enticed to give up Rondo for Lowry…
Like the #2, this would help the team along the path to go after a high draft pick in 2014, plus land an elite PG, although one the team will have to wait for.
To me, #2 and especially #3 make sense, if the Celtics are thinking of trading Rondo. With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett not getting any younger, they can’t afford to wait for Rondo to recover. They need a PG who will help them immediately and adding DeRozan gives them another good scorer and potential star at SG.
If the Raptors make the right moves this summer, they will have a good chance of getting a high pick in 2014. If they hit pay dirt and draft an Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker AND have them play alongside Rajon Rondo, as well as Jonas Valanciunas, Ed Davis and Terrence Ross, the Raptors will be better off than since Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter took the Raptors into the playoffs.