NBA@2: Lakers Interested In Jose Calderon?
The Los Angeles Lakers are foundering, sitting in a tie for the seventh seed in the Western Conference after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. On Saturday, HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy broke the story that the Lakers have had multiple discussions with Gilbert Arenas, who is still trying to get his knee right before making a decision, but don’t be surprised if the Lakers surface in connection to Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon.
It’s widely known that the Raptors would like to trade Calderon, and they very nearly did before Charlotte backed out of a deal at the last minute at last year’s trade deadline. Now they’re very specifically looking for a starting small forward or a deal that gets them closer to one, and the Lakers could prove to be the team that helps the Raptors in that regard.
The Lakers got an $8.9 million trade exception from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Lamar Odom, and that’s something the Raptors would dearly love to have. You see, the Raptors have targeted Wilson Chandler as their top choice at the three, but he is still technically Denver’s player to lose. When Chandler returns from China he will be a restricted free agent, and sources close to the situation tell HOOPSWORLD that the Raptors plan to make it very hard for the Nuggets to keep Chandler in town.
What Toronto has to do is clear enough cap space to make Chandler an offer the Nuggets will think twice before matching, which is where the Lakers’ trade exception comes in.
The Lakers are looking for point guard help, and Calderon is not only an experienced floor leader, he has also spent time playing with Lakers power forward Pau Gasol on the Spanish national team. Adding Calderon would make sense for the Lakers on a couple of levels, and he would also help new head coach Mike Brown in his quest to transition away from the triangle offense.
The reason Arenas might make more sense is that he would be a very inexpensive addition, though he is also a notch below Calderon at this point in his career.
What’s not clear is how the Lakers would land Calderon, which is their end game. He has a 10% trade kicker that makes it impossible to trade him just straight up for the trade exception, and you can’t include other players in a deal involving a trade exception. They could send the exception to Toronto for Leandro Barbosa, but the Raptors would really prefer to hang onto Barbosa. Clearly another team would have to be involved or a subsequent deal would have to be reached for the key pieces being discussed to land in the appropriate spots.
Up Close: Jason Terry
Dallas Mavericks sixth-man Jason Terry talks with HOOPSWORLD about Lamar Odom’s tough transition, the Mavs’ chances of repeating as champs and more in this exclusive interview!
Adelman Sees The Past In His Future
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman is nothing if not flexible. He had to be in his previous stint with the Houston Rockets, where injuries were the lead story every night and lineups had to be patched together with whichever players happened to be healthy on a given night. In that environment young players had to step up, and while Houston never quite got into the playoff picture without Yao Ming, they were very tough because other players stepped up to fill the void.
That experience of watching young players step in and grow on a nightly basis was what attracted him to the Timberwolves job.
“One of the attractions for me is having so many young guys,” Adelman tells HOOPSWORLD. “The last two years in Houston were a lot of fun because you saw young players develop when we had injuries. You saw them take on responsibilities there, and now when we played them the other night guys like Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin and Luis Scola are established pros now and they know what they’re doing. They’ve gotten better every year and that’s what you hope is going to happen with our group.”
Adelman had to admit he was impressed with what he saw in his new team’s loss to his old team, and he hopes the Timberwolves’ young players can develop like their counterparts in Houston.
“There’s no doubt,” says Adelman. We saw it last year, too, when they traded two of our top players – Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks – that opened it up for other guys again. Guys had to step up again and they did that. We saw them do it time after time. We did not drop off as a team, and we didn’t make the playoffs but we were close. Now they have a nice team because they’ve added some pieces. That’s what we’re hoping to do here.”
Minnesota has been impressive early, even in the games they ultimately lost. Adelman finds that heartening, especially since every player on his team has upside . . .even All-Star power forward Kevin Love.
“There’s room for improvement,” says Adelman of Love. “He’s got to learn to get his shot at the end of games, that’s a good shot every time, and he’s got to make his teammates better. I think he’s a better passer than his numbers show. We haven’t run a lot of stuff because we’ve had so many injuries, and that would give him that opportunity. He can certainly expand his game.”
That’s music to the ears of long-suffering Timberwolves fans. The future is bright, and from the looks of things it is also close at hand.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNYC, @SusanBible, @DPageHoopsWorld , @stephenlitel , @stevesraptors, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: There are three NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram at 11am. HOOPSWORLD’s Stephen Brotherston returns to hold down his weekly chat at 3pm EST. While HOOPSWORLD editor Jason Fleming rounds out the day with his weekly NBA chat at 8pm EST. You can always find the next NBA Chat here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/upcoming-chats and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/previous-chats