In a recent interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca, Raptors point guard Jose Calderon didn't deny that he'd "like to have the opportunity to compete for something."
That doesn't mean he's poised to ask for a trade -- "I don't think so, that's not me, that's not my personality," Calderon said -- but the 30-year-old left the undeniable sense that he wouldn't oppose a move away from the rebuilding Raps if the opportunity materializes.
You can safely assume, meanwhile, that the Raps feel the same way.
Sources with knowledge of Toronto's thinking say that the team is not just going to give Calderon away, especially when he's back to supplying a typically efficient 10.6 points and 8.7 assists nightly, but I'm told that the Raps are indeed open to moving him.
You'll recall that they already did agree to trade him to Charlotte in the summer of 2010 in a Tyson Chandler deal that the Bobcats ultimately backed out of. Now? 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.