In a recent post by Hunt B ("On the Trade Radar - Point Guard"), lions fan displaced in las vegas suggested we try to trade for the Raptors’ Jose Calderon. Birdman84 added that a trade of Prince and Bynum for Calderon would work. Some discussion followed about whether Calderon, who is 30, is worth adding to a young Pistons squad. I thought I’d look into the benefits of trading for Calderon.
First of all, Calderon is on the trading block according to various reports (ESPN, etc.). After trading for Kyle Lowry of the Rockets, the Raptors made it clear that their future at the point lies with him. There are also recent reports that Toronto will sign John Lucas III, who was the backup PG for the Bulls last season. Calderon is on the last year of his deal, which will pay him $10.6 million. While earlier trade talk focused on sending him to Dallas, that’s apparently over now that the Mavs traded for Darren Collison and re-signed Delonte West.
One trade rumor I’ve read has Calderon going to Philadelphia (others have him going to the Spurs, Hornets, or Cavaliers) to serve as a backup and mentor for Jrue Holiday at the point. That deal certainly makes sense for them, but it also makes sense for the Pistons for mostly the same reasons. We could certainly use a pass-first point guard to anchor our second unit and mentor Brandon Knight. If Kim English is ready for 15 minutes a game as our backup shooting guard, it would make sense to pair him with an experienced floor general.
Calderon is one of the best playmaking point guards in the league. How good is he? He finished fourth in assists last year (8.8) and third in assists/per 48 (12.5). His assist to turnover ratio of 4.50 led the league (Chris Paul was second at 4.38). Last season he averaged 10.5 points on 45.7 % shooting (37.1 % on threes), and 3.1 rebounds in 33.9 minutes per game.
Clearly Calderon is superior at doing "point-guardy things" to Brandon Knight – and to most of the other guards in the NBA. I doubt that we’d see the Pistons relegating Knight to the bench, but hopefully Calderon’s experience would be helpful to Knight’s professional development.
Of course, the key to any trade is that we have to offer the Raptors something they can use. Let’s look now at a couple workable possibilities:
Will Bynum & Tayshaun Prince: As I mentioned above, Birdman84 suggested this swap, which works on the ESPN Trade Machine. I think many of us would be fine with this option (and some of us would be ecstatic!). It frees up an extra spot on the Pistons’ crowded roster and reduces our logjam at small forward. Would Toronto go for it? If they do sign Lucas, they might not be interested in Bynum. They also might not want to take on Prince’s salary commitment (3 years/$22 million). But their roster is very weak at small forward, so they could certainly use an upgrade at that position. The question is whether or not they want a veteran presence to fill that role.
Austin Daye & Charlie Villanueva: This trade also works salary-wise, and might be more attractive to Toronto. The salary commitment going forward for them is less (CV – 2 years/$16.6 million; Daye – 1 year/$3 million), and they get two players unlike anyone else on their roster. At power forward, Toronto has Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, neither of whom is a 3-point threat. At small forward, they have Linas Kleiza and Quincy Acy. This trade has the potential to help the Raptors, so I can see them going for it.
I think most Pistons’ fans would be happy to part with Villanueva, but some of us are not yet ready to give up on Austin Daye. While I still have hopes that he can become a decent player, I think it’s very hard to see how the Pistons can offer Daye the opportunity to play and develop. At best, he has a shot at coming off the bench at either forward position. But the players he must leapfrog bring a lot more to the table than he does. With the addition of Kyle Singler and Kris Middleton at small forward, and Greg Monroe eventually moving to power forward, Austin’s days as a Piston are probably numbered no matter what.
I think the addition of Calderon would strengthen the Pistons’ backcourt by giving us a veteran presence at the most important position on the floor. Since the salary commitment to Calderon would be only for one year, our cap situation would remain very flexible. Depending on Knight’s development, we could either keep Calderon or let him move on in 2013.
Should we try to trade for Jose Calderon? Is there another reasonable option your prefer? Can you think of other workable trade possibilities? I welcome your comments and suggestions!