Toronto Raptors' Calderon drives to the basket past Sacramento Kings' Thomas during their NBA basketball game in Toronto

Raptors working to trade Jose Calderon


Think there are teams that could use a point guard who averaged 10.5 points and 8.8 assists per game last season (to 2 turnovers per game), who can shoot the three and assisted on 44 percent of his teammates baskets when he was on the floor last season?

Anyone want Jose Calderon?

He’s the guy a lot of fans don’t really know now but will be asking about when they watch how he plays as Spain’s starting point guard in the Olympics.

The Raptors are shopping him around, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

After reported Thursday that Calderon would welcome a trade after the arrival of Kyle Lowry to become the Raptors’ new starting point guard, agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed Thursday night that he and Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo are “working together” to try to find a workable trade.

“There’s a little bit of a logjam there in the backcourt now,” Bartelstein said. “Bryan and I are talking and we’re putting our heads together to see what we can do to find a solution.”

The challenge is Calderon is set to make $10.5 million next year. That’s not chump change. The good news is this is the last year of his deal, he’s a good fit for a team not wanting the long-term burden.

But not a lot of teams are going to absorb that salary.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.