Jose Calderon’s trade to the Lakers came as a bit of a surprise. Nevertheless, the move was a heralded one due to the second round picks that the team also received in the transaction.
However, the trade was about more than just getting extra draft picks. Calderon is a veteran point guard who has had moderate success in the NBA. While he is not and was never a star by any means, Calderon has been a rotation player for a long time and provides a lot of on-court value.
With the Lakers, Calderon can use that experience to provide mentorship for the young players. That is especially true with guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.
For his part, Calderon seems ready to take on that role and provide the veteran mentorship the Lakers need. He said as much to Mike Bresnahan of TWC Sportsnet (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll):
“I’m really excited about the season coming up. I think I can be a good guy for all the young guys. I’ve been around for a while, so I’m just ready for whatever minutes I got, just go out there and play my basketball. Team first. Everybody, if they don’t know me they’re going to soon enough, but that’s me. I’m just a team guy I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win, to help my teammates get better. That’s going to be my role.
Actually today, a couple of guys here like DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson, they were with me when they were young guys in Toronto and now great guys. DeMar is an All-Star with a gold medal, and Amir is playing for Boston, so I’ve been with them working with them since day one when you see those guys growing up and get better as basketball players so that’s great. That’s nice to see, so I think I really can help the team and I’m really excited about the season.”
Calderon bringing up DeRozan and Johnson signifies to me that he cares deeply about helping his teammates improve. Both of those players have had successful careers to this point with DeRozan placing himself as one of the best shooting guards in the league.
The Lakers have a void for a veteran leader with Kobe Bryant retiring this summer. Jose Calderon, along with the other vets on the team, can help provide that for the young core of the team.