Trust Colangelo to find a new home for Calderon…or Jack

It’s understandable for Michael Jordan to pull out of a deal that he thought he wasn’t getting a fair shake in, but turning around and giving up Chandler for Dallas’ trash makes this one hard to swallow.

It’s understandable for Michael Jordan to pull out of a deal that he thought he wasn’t getting a fair shake in, but turning around and giving up Chandler for Dallas’ trash makes this one hard to swallow. There are a few things that prop to mind in this whole mess:

  • If Larry Brown was philosophically against the deal, why did it get as far as the players being told that they were being traded?
  • If Michael Jordan was so reluctant to give up Chandler, why did he end up giving up Chandler?
  • Why does Jose Calderon have a 10% trade-kicker in his contract?
  • Does Larry Brown know that Matt Carroll is not a point guard?
  • If the rumours that the Bobcats didn’t want Reggie Evans and preferred a TPE are true, why didn’t we just give it to them?
  • Did Colangelo try and entice them with his trademark first-round pick?
  • Forget Larry Brown, what were Michael Jordan’s “second thoughts” based on? Calderon’s defense? Or the same sixth-sense that told him to pick Kwame Brown with the first pick?

Jordan traded Chandler and Ajinca who both have one year left on their deals and made a combined $14.1M; he received Najera and Carroll who make a combined $17.1 and have three years left on their contracts. Assuming the cash Charlotte got made up the difference, Jordan breaks even on the deal, but just traded his starting center (who he was “reluctant” to trade) for two deep-bench players. Unless they flip Erick Dampier for a starting point-guard, this deal makes zero sense. Zero. Absolute zero.

If Jordan had taken on Calderon and Evans by giving up Chandler and Diaw, he would’ve taken on about $11M more of salary over three years, but at least he would’ve had a starting caliber point guard to show for. Yes, Calderon is overpaid and his defense is shoddy, but what exactly is Eduardo Najera going to do for you when you have a player like Nazr Mohammed and DeSagana Diop already on the roster. And Matt Carroll? Yes, Charlotte was 21st in the league in three-point shooting and has had some good seasons in Charlotte before, but without a PG to setup shots for him, he’ll starve to death.

Mark Cuban’s smart, he saw how the Toronto-Charlotte trade fell through and quickly offered himself to the “rescue” of the Bobcats, who were silly enough to fall for it. You wonder how many teams called Colangelo right after with low-ball offers for Calderon?

From the Raptors end, it’s bitter disappointment because this trade would’ve addressed the cap, the defense, and given Andrea Bargnani some competition at the center spot. Now we’re just left with an awkard feeling between Calderon and Colangelo, the latter was so confident of this deal getting done that was running a picture of Calderon under the headline “Raptors talking trade”. As soon as the deal fell through, they quickly replaced it with that of just Hedo and Barbosa.

Now we know what Colangelo’s intentions are – dump salary and sure up the defense at center. Raymond Felton going to the Knicks had created a nice hole at point guard in Charlotte and given the Raptors a unique opportunity which appears to be gone. Assuming Calderon is still on the block and looking around the league, there aren’t many teams who have glaring holes at point guard. Indiana comes to mind but they’re high on A.J. Price, Memphis could given up on Mike Conley Jr. who has a $6.4 qualifying offer next summer, maybe Houston is looking for a pass-first point since Aaron Brooks isn’t one, and perhaps the Hawks have realized that Mike Bibby can’t run a team anymore. The sexiest possibility is Rob Babcock redeeming himself and taking a package including Calderon for Ricky Rubio, after all, Rubio’s got as much of a chance of playing in Minny as Patrick O’Bryant has of playing another NBA game.

The positive take on this is that this could be a blessing in disguise. Since Turkoglu’s gone, whichever of Calderon or Jack starts, will have more ownership of the team and could run it smoothly without a pissed-off Turkoglu standing in the corner and sulking. But that’s taking a risk of repeating the mistakes of the past two years, i.e., having a weak point-of-attack defense. Adding Barbosa to the team hs made us an even weaker defensive unit, and going into next season with those three at the point is just begging to be penetrated. So even if Turkoglu’s departure means Calderon finds his offensive groove, there’s still the problem of overall point guard defense.

This was exactly the reason the Raptors needed to target a defensive-minded point guard, such as Avery Bradley, in the draft. It doesn’t make sense to have four point guards on the team, and if Colangelo can help it he’ll move Calderon. If he’s unable to do that then it’ll come down to Jack or Barbosa, two guys that are very similar with Barbosa obviously being a speed merchant with a more score-first mentality, and Jack bringing it in the grit department. You can almost feel Colangelo’s brain thinking right now.

If we assume that Colangelo is still interested in acquiring a defensive center, some options could be Erick Dampier, which would be highly ironic but pointless. Jeff Foster has an expiring contract of $6.65M, only played 16mpg and is going to be behind Roy Hibbert in the depth chart. Marcin Gortat always seems to be available and depending on how the Blazers feel, there’s an outside shot at Greg Oden or Joel Przybilla. I was about to mention Andris Biedrins in that list, but he’s actually not a great defender and gets exploited quite easily, it’s just that his rebounds and blocks tend to hide that fact.

To other matters, The Raptors were in summer league action last night and they handily beat the Rockets with a very strong game from DeMar DeRozan. The final score isn’t indicative of the Raptors’ dominance and you can check out the live blog for more. If you’re too lazy to do that, let me just say DeRozan and Weems put on a show, Ed Davis had a poor game, Dorsey was a beast (13/12), Alabi was hesitant, and Bobby Brown made the most of his playing time with a 20-point game. On Houston, I can see why Jordan Hill either keeps getting traded or is mentioned in trade rumours, and Patrick Patterson could be a good scorer in the NBA.

The guy I will choose to focus on is Joey Dorsey. As I mentioned on the live blog, if Andrea Bargnani had 20% of Joey Dorsey in him, he’d be a perennial All-Star. We’ll normalize his performance based on the summer league competition, but even then it’s impressive. He carves out space in the paint, gets a body on a man every time, hits the offensive glass hard, and sets good screens which he follows up with good movement. No standing around aimlessly after setting a pick, he either rolls looking for a pass or sets himself up for rebounding position, his overall game is crude but everything he does without the ball is fundamentally sound basketball. He’s an awful scorer (even though he got some put-backs), can’t shoot FTs and can’t hit a jumper, but if we have to have a big guy on the deep end of the bench, I’ll take him any day. Prediction: If he does’t stick with Toronto, he’ll end up in Miami.

Yesterday, Al Harrington signed with the Nuggets at the same number and years as Amir Johnson – $34M/5yr. This means that since the Nuggets have taken care of the void at small forward, they wont be matching the offersheet for Linas Kleiza.

Here’s to some good trade news today….here’s your Moment of Zen.

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