The Lakers’ free agency period got a bit more interesting when they acquired Jose Calderon from the Chicago Bulls after the Bulls needed to clear their cap space to welcome their hometown star, Dwyane Wade, to the Windy City.
In addition to acquiring Calderon off the Bulls for salary dump purposes, the Lakers were able to take two future second round picks from them as well.
This move can be looked at purely as a business transaction with the Lakers absorbing a player’s salary and the promise of future draft picks. It’s true that the Lakers gained more assets than they gave up, but don’t undermine the player they got in the deal in Calderon.
Calderon is a seasoned veteran that could provide a stable backup and leadership to D’Angelo Russell. Calderon has played in the NBA for more than 10 seasons. He also has had many experiences playing with Spain in the Olympics. The Lakers wanted to surround the team with players who can provide leadership, experience, and trust. Calderon would fit nicely with new veterans in the team in Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng.
Throughout his ten seasons in the NBA, Calderon shot a career average of 41% from deep and 48% from the field. In the 2007-2008 season with the Toronto Raptors, Calderon joined the elite group of players to shoot at least 50% from the field, 40% from deep and 90% from the free-throw line. Calderon is known for his efficient shooting, play-making and pick-and-roll offense, which fits perfectly with Luke Walton and the Lakers. In eight seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Calderon averaged ten points and seven assists. He can offer the Lakers a solid backup point guard off the bench.
Before the addition of Calderon, it could be presumed that Marcelo Huertas would be the backup point guard to D’Angelo Russell. Huertas had an okay rookie season in the NBA, but at times, the 33-year-old out of Brazil seemed to struggle to compete against other point guards. Calderon would be a slight upgrade over Huertas; the former is a better scorer and shooter than the latter. Calderon is only a year older than Huertas and has way more NBA experience.
It is important to understand that Calderon will be entering his final year of his current contract and will be an unrestricted free agent come to the end of next season. Calderon will try to prove to the Lakers and other NBA teams that he deserves another contract. He would have to play well in his contract year to attract suitors.
The Lakers could take advantage of Calderon’s performance in his contract year and trade him away for more assets before the trade deadline. If Calderon plays well for the Lakers, he would attract a lot of suitors from contending teams that will try to upgrade their roster before the postseason.
The Lakers may not have landed the top free agents this summer, but they have bounced back nicely by acquiring a player on an expiring contract and receiving future assets in return. Calderon could prove to be a valuable acquisition down the line.