Recently, rumours have been flying around Raptorland that former point guard TJ Ford could return via a trade involving none other than his former point-guard mate, Jose Calderon. The HQ has to ask, if this happens, is there any foreseeable way that it could work?
This past Thursday, a blockbuster deal went down in the league that saw four teams exchange players. The Rockets, only a year removed from making Trevor Ariza their big free-agent acquisition, moved him to the Hornets, who in turn sent James Posey and Darren Collison to Indiana, who then in turn sent Troy Murphy to New Jersey, with the Nets finally completing the four-team-swap by sending Courtney Lee to Houston.
However NBA.com's David Aldridge reported that the deal could have been even bigger, with Charlotte looking to move newly acquired center (and expiring contract) Eric Dampier to Indiana in exchange for TJ Ford. Ford would have then made his way back to Toronto with Jose Calderon going to Charlotte.
And while that move didn't happen, it sounds like this other 3-way deal could still go down and as a result, Raptors' fans would have to re-welcome Mr. Ford.
I've been pondering this possibility the past few days and decided to write a quick blurb on it as one of our reoccurring "Sunday Thoughts."
Would I approve of such a move? Well...it's tough to say.
I get it, Ford's contract expires after this season so yes, it would be a huge opportunity to cut costs for Toronto.
Financial costs however.
Would it "cost" the team more in the long run to bring in a malcontent like Ford, a player that was already shipped out of town once? We're talking about a young and impressionable team here, one that certainly doesn't need a player who will be anything but happy if he's not starting (witness the chaos last year in Indiana regarding his role) and even if he does start, is not exactly the type of leader you want for your youngsters. Jarrett Jack has already taken on the "cool Uncle" role for the likes of Weems, DeRozan and Johnson and I'd like to see that continue.
And even outside of personality fits, what about Jack and Ford sharing the point guard duties? Many forget, but these two did this in Indiana during the 2008-09 season.
Did it work?
Well...it was ok.
The following table based on stats from 82games.com looks at how successful 5-man line-ups were with Ford and Jack on the court together:
As you can see, the line-ups with the two were on average decent.
They were leading 50% of the time, they did a good job retaining possession, and had a slightly better effective field goal percentage than their opponent.
However the defensive stats aren't great as line-ups that included these two gave up over a point a possession on average and offensively the team was poor at getting to the line.
Of course Ford and Jack are only two-fifths of the equation in this line-up so it's a bit tough to judge how effective the two were together based solely on this.
More importantly, does Ford provide any real upgrade over Jose if he were to return, or over Jack for that matter, in terms of point guard play? You could argue that TJ's defence would be a boost in Jose's absence, but that piece would probably be negated by Ford's poor shooting.
For me, the benefit of bringing Ford back comes down to style of play. When Jack and Ford manned the 1 in Indiana two seasons ago, the club played at the third fastest pace in the league. Contrary to previous years, the team now has the horses to play this style and is arguably better suited to do so.
I'm not sure that in itself is enough to bring back a possible PR and on-court "fit" problem like Ford, but the argument could be made that there is some benefit there in making the aforementioned swap.
And in reality, a move like this would come down to the same thing that the majority of transactions come down to in this era of the NBA.