With players acting like high-priced escorts, the two days of free-agency has left many in a bit of a sour mood, myself included. What ever happened to loyalty? The biggest free-agent of our generation, Michael Jordan, didn’t start shopping himself on the market after the Bulls lost to the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1995, nor did Isaiah Thomas, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. There was something to be said about finishing what you started, seeing the job through, and making it on your own. The predilection for those sentiments seems to have been vanished and the players have taken the role of corporate companies trying to form mergers; you can argue that they’re hardly to be blamed and that in today’s market, it’s their right and duty to maximize their value, but somewhere in all of this, something resembling integrity is being muddied and egotism is on the ascension.
Onto more pragmatic matters. You can scratch the Lakers off the list of possible destinations for Jose Calderon. Yesterday they signed Steve Blake to a 16M/4yr deal which should put an end to any interest they might’ve had in Calderon, what with him and Gasol being Spanish and all. Perhaps the other Gasol brother is fond of Jose? Calderon’s departure has been thought of as a foregone conclusion with only the formalities left to be taken care of, after all, when the coach and GM single you out as one of the main weaknesses on the perimeter of the league-worst defensive team, chances are they’re not going to bring you back. It is sad though, because Calderon has proven himself to be a solid, if not the best in the league, backup whenever he’s been slotted in that role.
The number’s are pretty much the same, but the difference lies in who he is playing against. As a starter, he’s prone to being torched by the Rondo’s and Harris’ of the world, but as the commander of the second-unit, he’s up against lesser point guards who he has a better chance of dealing with. His leadership, composure and mistake-free basketball also works well with the “young guns” who last year forced Calderon to be more aggressive in break situations, and we saw him develop a chemistry between Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems. I’m not even going to go into the redundancy of having him and Turkoglu on the floor at the same time, but will mention that his sharp-shooting is much more needed in the second unit than it is in the first where three-point snipers such as Bargnani and Turkoglu already roam the perimeter.
My point? Jose Calderon can be a valuable member of the Raptors as a backup point guard, it’s when we stretch him that he gets into trouble. Mitchell and Triano have also been impatient with their rotations, especially concerning veterans like Jack and Calderon. It’s one thing to switch DeRozan and Weems in and out of lineups, another to do it with veteran players tied to long-term deals and promised a certain role at the outset of their contract. Any tinkering that we’ve done at the point guard position has not worked, and if anything, backfired, the Raptors are much better off accepting that Calderon is a great bench player and swallow the hard pill of his contract. Unless you’re getting an explosive point man in return, someone like Eric Maynor for example, there’s no reason to ship out Jose Calderon and replace him with a player who might not be cut out for the job.
Oh, by the way, whatever I said about Calderon applies to Jack. Both are excellent backup guards that have no business playing 37 minutes a night in the league. I hope that whichever one we keep comes off the bench come training camp.
The “wooing” that Chris Bosh and Co. were so keen on is continuing as he met with New York on Friday, apparently the meeting lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes and walked away with Bosh being the most impressed he’s ever been. So far he’s met with Miami, Houston, New York, New Jersey and Toronto, interesting to note that there’s no mention of the Lakers, a team whose games Bosh made a point to attend in the playoffs. It’s understandable from the Lakers point-of-view, why bother messing around with a team that’s been two the NBA Finals three straight years, winning twice.
Saturday is an important day in free-agency because Dwayne Wade, who was considered a lock to sign with Miami, is now intrigued by the Bulls’ offer and is only questioning what else the Bulls will do to improve the team. Since the Bulls don’t have enough cap space to sign two max-money players, they’d have to execute a sign-and-trade deal with someone. The Bulls are meeting LeBron James in Akron today and if things get sorted out between the two, it would see Wade and James end up in Chicago, leaving Chris Bosh hanging out to dry. Now, wouldn’t that be something? As noted on the “Hot Topics” yesterday, Bosh’s documentary crew is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way and even media personalities like Frank Isola are openly rooting against him. So, see Raptors fans, we’re not alone.
If Wade and Lames do pair up, it’ll leave Chris Bosh to “partner” with someone like Amare Stoudemire (100M/5yr) or Joe Johnson, the latter being offered a 119M/6yr deal by the Hawks which he would be absolutely insane to refuse, but likely will because the Knicks might partner him with another max-money blah blah blah…it’s all very stupid and sickening. Apparently some research show that Joe Johnson will be a dud after three more years. Even though I hate the guy’s guts, Paul Pierce staying with Boston is actually a breath of fresh air.
On Monday the Raptors will formally introduce Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi to the Toronto media where they’ll be bombarded with silly questions about what the process of getting a passport was like.
Big thanks to “Mess” from the forums for answering Wade and Bosh’s question of who might be missing on their dinner date.
As always, check the sidebars for the latest.