Jose Calderon played well for Toronto last season. A lot of people didn’t notice because, well, he plays for Toronto and they weren’t very good. But Calderon was — 10.5 points a game, 8.8 assists and he had a PER of 16.7.
So, the Raptors went out and got Kyle Lowry in the offseason to be the starting point guard. How’s that for a pat on the back?
That led to all kinds of speculation that Calderon was unhappy and wanted a trade. But back at the Raptors workout facility he told the Toronto Star none of that is true.
“I don’t know if we have to use that word (controversy) before even training camp,” said Calderon before flatly denying a summer report that he was put out by the acquisition of Lowry and wanted a trade from the only NBA team he’s ever played for. “I think we are just two more players for the Raptors team, we’re going to try to win games for the Raptors.
“I think it’s just wanting to make a big thing before anything has started. It doesn’t matter, we have to win games, we want to make the playoffs. If he scores 20 points a game, I’ll be happy; it’s helping us win.”
Calderon may not want a trade from the only team he’s ever played for, but you can bet he is going to come up in rumors. When teams south of the border go shopping for a point guard in a trade the Raptors phone is going to ring and they will get offers for Calderon, who is in the last year of his deal making nearly $10.6 million. Lowry has one season after this but at a very reasonable $6.2 million.
Calderon is handling this like a pro — say it’s about the team, not your minutes. Now we’ll see how he handles a season of trade rumors. But he’s used to having another point guard in the mix, as long as he has been in Toronto there has been T.J. Ford or Jarrett Jack or someone he has to fight for minutes.
Just another day at the office for the Spaniard. So don’t expect public trade demands from him.
A month into the season, the Lakers the only team in the Western Conference that can absolutely be written out of any hopes of playoff contention. They’re in an awkward position with the upcoming draft: they still need talent long-term, and they owe their pick to the Sixers if it’s outside of the top three. Not surprisingly, Byron Scott isn’t thinking about it at all.
Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
With the Lakers fielding the NBA’s second-worst record, how much effort will the franchise put in retaining its top-3 protected draft pick?
“I don’t think about that whatsoever,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I probably won’t until April. That’s something I can’t control.”
The Lakers are in a precarious position. They appear likely bad enough to lose a lot of games. But will they lose enough to land in the top three? Otherwise, the Lakers owe Philadelphia their first-round pick as part of the Steve Nash trade.
“It’s impossible to think about the team, try to get our young guys better, the team better and also thinking about a pick,” Scott said. “That’s six months away and you might not even get it.”
Given Scott’s mentality, it’s not at all surprising that he isn’t thinking about the draft. But with his insistence on playing Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams more crunch-time minutes on this dismal Lakers team than D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, it’s pretty laughable that he talks about wanting to develop their young players.
Scott may not be thinking about the draft, but with the position the franchise is in and the likelihood that they lose their pick, he should be.
Jahlil Okafor‘s first month in the NBA has been eventful for all the wrong reasons. Early Thanksgiving morning, he was caught on video getting into a fight with a heckler in Boston. Then, a report surfaced of another altercation from October, in which Okafor apparently had a gun pulled on him. Now, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor was recently pulled over in Philadelphia for driving 108 miles per hour:
Four sources independently confirmed to The Inquirer the 76ers center was pulled over on the Ben Franklin Bridge around three weeks ago for 108 miles per hour. Anything over 40 m.p.h. is considered reckless driving.
108 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone isn’t a minor speeding infraction—it’s incredibly dangerous. It might be possible to write off any of these incidents by themselves—particularly the one where he had a gun pulled on him, which doesn’t seem to have been his fault at all. But together, the Boston incident and this speeding report aren’t a good look at all for Okafor. He’s had a solid start to the year for the Sixers, but off the court has been another story.
The Warriors’ Friday night 135-116 win over the Suns was bittersweet: Harrison Barnes suffered a sprained left ankle in the third quarter and left for the remainder of the game. He missed Saturday night’s blowout win over the Kings as well, which extended the Warriors’ best-ever start to the season to 18-0.
Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton didn’t have an answer for how long Barnes will be out, but he said it could be a few weeks.
Via ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss:
“He’s being evaluated [Saturday]. We haven’t gotten the results back yet,” interim head coach Luke Walton told reporters before Saturday’s game. “It’s all speculation. It could be a few weeks. It could be a week.
“We’re not going to rush him back because we want to be healthy for later in the season and we don’t want lingering injures, so we’ll have him take his time.”
Losing a starter is never good news, but the silver lining for the Warriors is that they have enough depth and enough of a cushion to be able to take their time and not rush Barnes back. Saturday night, Walton opted to keep Andre Iguodala in his usual sixth-man role and instead start the little-used Brandon Rush in Barnes’ place. Rush responded with a 16-point performance, shooting 4-of-5 from the three-point line. If they can keep getting that kind of production out of their reserves, the Warriors will be able to withstand the loss of Barnes just fine.
Emmanuel Mudiay is still a work in progress on the court — he’s a rookie, what did you expect? — but he has the court vision and flair you cannot teach.
As evidence, I present this pass from Saturday night, where in transition Mudiay goes with the no-look, behind-the-head dish to Darrell Arthur for the dunk.
The Nuggets dropped this game to the Mavericks 92-81 and have lost six in a row.