Report: Spurs interested in Raptors’ Jose Calderon

By Quixem Ramirez

April 09, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon (8) brings the ball up court against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

The Toronto Raptors are expected to offer unrestricted free agent Steve Nash a lot of money. That number could be upwards of $12 million per year. If Nash agrees to terms with the Raptors, it’s likely they amnesty the final year of Jose Calderon’s contract (worth $10.6 million).

Calderon, 30, is one of the most effective passers in the entire league, assisting on a gaudy 44.2% of Toronto’s possessions. Picking his spots in the defense is an intricate part of Calderon’s game.

He can shoot from the perimeter at a reliable rate and he’s an excellent free throw shooter as well. At this stage of his career Calderon is heavily reliant on his mid-range shot. A shade over half of his field goal attempts came from mid-range (he converted on 45% of these shots).

The problems with Calderon: defense and injuries. Injuries have sapped his effectiveness. Calderon has missed an average of 14 games per year since the 2007-08 season where he played 82 games.

Calderon’s defensive ineptitude stems from his lack of lateral quickness. He allowed opposing point guards to accumulate a 17.8 PER. He also allowed them to attempt more than a fourth of their shots from at the rim. Without Calderon on the floor there is a noticeable improvement in Toronto’s defense. They allow 97.8 points per 100 possessions; a number that increases to 104.4 when Calderon is on the court. For reference, Toronto defended at an elite level akin to the Boston Celtics. They are average defensively otherwise.

The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in Calderon as well. If the Spurs sign Calderon the Tony Parker scenario (once again) is muddled. Do they trade Parker? Or do they find a way to give them both significant minutes? It wouldn’t hurt to alleviate Parker’s workload but is it worth downgrading defensively? As always predicting the Spurs’ next move is impossible.

So what do you think Spurs fans? Would signing Jose Calderon be a good move for the Spurs?