Trading Calderon the best option for the Raptors

FRANK ZICARELLI, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

The question was posed during the regular season and will continue throughout this off-season, in all likelihood for another two months.

T.J. or Jose?

Eventually, the Raptors will find out the two can't co-exist, their well-intended plans to meet with all parties notwithstanding.

Eventually, one will have to be moved.

If you're a Raptors fan, you're hoping the team can parlay the depth at the point position into a serviceable piece, at best a rotation player and at the absolute worst someone who doesn't just spot up on the perimeter and heave jumpers.

What the Raptors will discover, likely as soon as July 1 when teams are in a position to offer Calderon, a restricted free agent, a contract, is that Ford is an unmoveable part.

Hindsight is a wonderful tool and upon reflection it is so obvious that the Raptors completely mishandled Ford.

For this, the entire organization is at fault.

There is nothing wrong with Ford that can't be fixed, though.

The Raptors knew Ford's medical history when they traded for him, so forget those arguments of Ford being one fall away from ending his career.

They knew how much he wanted the ball in his hands.

What the Raptors must do is harness Ford, surround him with veterans who understand the game and who have experienced the grind of the post-season.

In the past two springs, Calderon was on the floor when the Raptors needed a basket.

On each sequence, Calderon and Chris Bosh were the primary options. In each case, they came up short, last year's elimination in Game 6 to New Jersey and this year's exit against Orlando, when the Calderon-Bosh tandem failed to execute a late-game play in Game 2.

The one thing Ford does that Calderon can't is create his own shot.

For those who want to rip Ford for getting caught up in one-on-one battles, look to Thursday's Game 3 in the West semi-final when Chris Paul tried to exchange baskets with Tony Parker.

Another quality Ford possesses that Calderon doesn't is an assassin's approach.

You want attitude and an edge and Ford has them.

This is by no means a dump Calderon campaign, but the fact remains that Calderon is more coveted around the NBA than Ford.

Calderon is a piece the Raptors must explore in trade scenarios to fill the many holes exposed this past season.

Calderon might even fetch that 20-point-a-night player to complement Bosh.

One thing is certain -- Ford won't.

MORE TROUBLE FOR KEON

Of the many characters to play in Toronto, few could match Keon Clark, whose demons continue to haunt him.

On Thursday, Clark was convicted on a misdemeanour weapons charge stemming from a March 2006 incident at his Danville, Ill., home. He faces a year in prison.

The ruling follows Clark's bench trial for possession of a firearm without a valid card.

Yesterday, he was scheduled to stand trial on disorderly conduct for filing a false police report in January 2007; criminal damage to property over $300 US in September and three driving infractions stemming from two incidents in March 2007 and one in July.

NASH ON D'ANTONI

Two-time league MVP Steve Nash appeared yesterday at a charity event in Phoenix and was asked about his coach, Mike D'Antoni, who is being wooed by the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls.

"This is the last thing I'm going to say about our coaching situation: Mike's my coach," Nash said. "So I expect to see Mike back here next year.

"And I know there's a lot of stuff going on right now, but Mike's my coach. I love playing for him. I expect to see him back in October."

Chances are Nash will be playing for a new coach.

The latest rumour has the Knicks willing to fork over as much as $30 million as part of a multi-year package.

BRIEFLY

Vince Carter, who underwent ankle surgery on April 23, continues to rehab at the Nets' practice facility. New Jersey expects its star to be completely healthy in time for training camp this fall ... Commissioner David Stern said the league will consider changing its rules on fouls away from the basketball in addition to reviewing the use of replay for game clock malfunctions when the competition committee meets in Orlando, site of the pre-draft camp, at the end of the month. The foul rule is in response to the Hack-a-Shaq strategy used by San Antonio in its opening-round series win over Phoenix. A clock malfunction occurred in the Orlando-Detroit series when Chauncey Billups made a three-pointer. It shouldn't have counted because the game clock froze.


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