Should the Toronto Raptors Trade Jose Calderon?

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterSeptember 10, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Jose Calderon #8 of Spain reacts to a call in the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There was a time, long ago in the distant past, when Jose Calderon was underrated. He was a marvel of basketball efficiency, a Hollinger legend. Back when he played 82 games, while shooting better than 50 percent from the field, 40 percent on threes and 90 percent from the free-throw line, it was hard to resist the Calderon bandwagon. Not only was he tossing up Larry Bird shooting percentages, but he was contributing eight assists on less than two turnovers per game.

It seemed Jose was the ultimate in under-appreciated value. He did not play enough to accrue large stat totals, and he did his business in the Great White North, where only League Pass scholars and Canadian residents can form honest opinions. 

I miss that Calderon, as it's been downhill ever since 2008. Injuries have chased Jose to the bench and the shooting percentages have come down. He's been a sieve on defense, standing out even among bad defenders.

Perhaps Kenny Smith had a point.

Jose hasn't played more than 68 games in four seasons (though, to be fair, his 53-game lockout season perhaps shouldn't count). Last year, his once sterling shooting averages dipped to a true shooting mark of .547 (Jose used to notch over 60 percent in the metric that took three pointers and free throws into account). 

So the Raptors would be selling low if they traded Calderon today, but sell they might. Kyle Lowry is an upgrade defensively and offensively from Jose, and should get a bulk of the minutes. 

The Spaniard might need a new location and possibly better medical trainers. He has had his moments, even recently. A point-guard lacking team might take a chance on the purest of PGs. 

I would favor trading Jose Calderon, even if Toronto can't get the value on him that they could have back in 2008. With Lowry in the lineup, Jose will never get to prove that he's back to his old, efficient ways. The play should be to either cut losses, or, if there is no tantalizing deal on the table, to just use Calderon in an overpaid backup role.