Calderon trade best option

Trading guard Jose Calderon would be in the best interest for the Raptors. SUN MEDIA/Greg...

Trading guard Jose Calderon would be in the best interest for the Raptors. SUN MEDIA/Greg Henkenhaf

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Each time Jose Calderon opens his mouth or uses his personal website as a platform to vent, he inadvertently is fuelling a controversy that is headed for one ugly climax.

Most NBA observers figured the Raptors' chances of keeping both Calderon and T.J. Ford were minimal at best.

As the team's off-season continues, the chances grow even slimmer, the possibility of a trade more likely as the chasm between Ford and Calderon widens.

At this point, all Calderon can do is wait until July 1, when NBA free agency kicks in.

In his case, Calderon becomes a restricted free agent and the Raptors have steadfastly stated they will match any offer.

With so few teams having cap space, the most Calderon can expect is a mid-level offer, which is expected to be in the neighbourhood of $5.6 million US, doubling his stipend from last season.

Sign-and-trade scenarios are possible and teams conceivably can clear space, factors that could lead to a more lucrative offer for Calderon.

But the fact remains that one of Calderon or Ford must go.

There is no market for Ford, while teams privately covet Calderon, who would make both a playing and cultural fit in markets such as Miami and Los Angeles.

Not that the Raptors needed further evidence of the growing divide at the point, but quotes attributed to Calderon highlight a rift with Ford.

"I would like to start and that's the most important thing,'' Calderon is quoted as saying in yesterday's edition of the Spanish daily sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo, a sentiment he first shared with visitors to his website.

But now comes the kicker.

Continued Calderon in the article: "I've been two years with him but I don't know if I could be another year because things would have to change."

Barring a complete personality makeover by Ford, which doesn't seem likely, nothing can change in Raptorland.

That is why a change in scenery for Calderon is best for all parties concerned.

People have been clamouring for a player such as Corey Maggette of the Los Angeles Clippers, an athletic wing who is capable of averaging 20 a night and attacking the rim.

The Clippers can use a point guard and Calderon's family probably wouldn't object to southern California's warm climate.

It's just one of many possibilities to ponder as July 1 approaches and as the Raptors try to solve their mess at the point position.

Home sweet home

Heading into Game 6 of the Hornets-Spurs series in San Antonio last night, home teams in the second round of the post-season had gone 19-1. Detroit produced the only road win, in Game 4 of its series against Orlando.

Theories abound as to why home teams have dominated, but none offers any logical explanation.

What is known is that no team in NBA history has won a championship without posting a road victory.

The Celtics might buck that trend.

Against Atlanta, Boston averaged 102.3 points in its four home wins and only 77.0 points in three away losses to the Hawks.

The second-round numbers aren't as pronounced as the Celtics prepare to face the Cavs in Cleveland tonight.

"We're going to get one,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of that elusive road conquest. "I don't know when. It would be great if it's Game 6."

Dirk throwing dirt

Dirk Nowitzki didn't mince words on Wednesday when the Mavs formally introduced Rick Carlisle as head coach, replacing Avery Johnson.

"We just had to get a change here, for both sides," Nowitzki said. "We need somebody now who can get the best out of this team, who finds a way to get the best out of everybody."

Make no mistake: Star players run the NBA and when a team's star feels alienated by a coach, the outcome is as inevitable as it is unavoidable.

"I think that's what Avery was missing a little bit, the communication with the players individually," Nowitzki said. "Because it's still a player's league. It's not a league of coaches."


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