As most are probably aware, Raptors' point guard Jose Calderon, in a recent interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, noted that he would "like to have the opportunity to compete for something."
ESPN.com's Marc Stein digs into this idea a bit more in his recent "Weekend Dime," and while he makes it clear that this by no means should be taken as word that Jose wants out of TO, he notes that both parties, Calderon and the Raptors, seem to be keeping an eye on their options.
From the piece:
Sources say that the Raps, if not outright shopping Calderon, have let it be known they're willing to listen, since he's no longer regarded as their long-term answer at the point.
That's because shedding Calderon's nearly $11 million salary for next season would be another step in the reset that began with Bryan Colangelo's drafting of Jonas Valanciunas in June and the hiring of the defensive-minded Dwane Casey as the new coach. It's an open secret north of the border that the Raptors, as much as they've loved Bargnani's increased production and honest attempts to try harder on D under Casey, won't be heartbroken if their 2011-12 record nets another prime pick in the next draft.
The biggest obstacle to a Calderon deal between now and the March 15 trading deadline is that the Raps would surely want a point guard in return, which would appear to rule out teams looking for point guards -- like the Lakers and Knicks -- unless a third or fourth team joins in. Another option for Toronto, if shedding Calderon's salary is needed for cap space this summer, is merely releasing him via the amnesty clause in the NBA's new labor agreement since the Raps didn't use it before this season.
Perhaps there's nothing too shocking in there for us Raptors' fans, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next month or so. Jose had a great start to the season but has indeed fallen back to earth of late. Should the Raptors continue to pile up losses, perhaps Bryan Colangelo sends the "tank" full speed ahead, and decides to move Calderon, regardless of getting a PG in return. Players like Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa (assuming he's not dealt as well) would man the fort and that would probably help ensure a top 3 pick.
However if Bargnani comes back and Toronto makes a run at a playoff spot, not out of the question considering the club's record with Bargs and the terrible options competing currently for eighth in the East, then maybe Toronto holds onto the Spaniard.
Personally I think Colangelo is more on the "hold" side of the fence unless the right deal comes along.
As for the amnesty idea? I can't see it unless Toronto indeed finds a younger and more suitable option at the 1 going forward.