Time for some creativity

Jose Calderon might be the only player the Raptors could trade who has the potential to land a...

Jose Calderon might be the only player the Raptors could trade who has the potential to land a much-needed stud at the wing position. (QMI Agency/Dave Abel)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

Many adjectives get tossed around when one is asked to describe Bryan Colangelo.

He is driven and calculating, accessible and coy, fearless and relentless.

What makes Colangelo such a good general manager is his ability to keep everything close to the vest. Even in those rare moments when information is shared, there is an agenda because thatís how the NBA operates.

He is the ultimate poker player in the supremely high stakes game of brokering deals and altering a roster.

As Colangelo prepares for the NBAís trade deadline, which kicks in Feb. 18, heís engaged in that daily exercise of evaluating his team and fielding phone calls from his league brethren.

Winnable games

The Raptors will soon reach the all-star break. There are winnable games in the form of the Sacramento Kings, who pay their only visit to Toronto on Super Bowl Sunday, and the free-falling Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Two opportunities and one real possibility of entering the break with a 29-23 record, regardless of the status of Torontoís walking wounded.

The Raptors find themselves at an interesting cross-road in their evolution.

Chris Bosh is playing like an MVP and heís well on his way to becoming a first-team all-star at power forward, a first for Bosh.

Andrea Bargnani is more consistent, is less inclined to settle for jump shots and is doing a rather remarkable job of defending paint, even though heís a natural power forward playing the centre spot.

Whether he dons a protective mask or not, thereís no hiding the fact that Hedo Turkoglu has more to give and more will be expected.

Bosh, Bargnani and Turkoglu are Torontoís untouchables.

There are expiring contracts and depth players who will never be consistent starters on elite teams.

Sonny Weems and Antoine Wright are nice bodies to have around when a crisis arrives and when a stop gap is required.

DeMar DeRozan is a good kid and heíll one day be a good player, but it isnít going to happen this year.

And then thereís Jose Calderon.

Of all the pieces Colangelo has at his disposal, Calderon is the one who must be shopped around.

Calderon might be the only player of consequence who has the potential to land Toronto that much-needed stud at the wing position.

Itíll have to be a creative deal because Calderon alone wonít fetch the Raptors that one missing piece to get the club over the hump.

Creativity is Colangeloís calling card.

Core piece

There was a time when T.J. Ford represented a core piece in the puzzle Colangelo was assembling.

Circumstances changed and Colangelo showed no hesitation in reacting to the changing climate.

That ability to adjust on the fly and be pro-active is what makes Colangelo, above everything else, one of the brightest minds in basketball.

Heís not afraid and surely Colangelo sees an Eastern Conference that is getting vulnerable.

Surely Colangelo sees an opportunity to get out of the opening round and make a run that hasnít been seen in the spring since the days of Vince Carter, Charles Oakley and Antonio Davis.

The Raptors are a dangerous team, especially on their home floor.

They are very close to being a very good team, but making that jump is going to require making a sacrifice.

Calderon isnít going to start for the Raptors anytime soon because Jarrett Jack shows no signs of handing back the point guard reins.

Calderon is on the floor in the fourth quarter, which is the Raptorsí way of appeasing the Spaniardís ego.

In theory, having an extra ball handler on the floor in crunch time sounds good, but it doesnít work.

People want to criticize Turkoglu for wanting the ball in his hands more, but thatís his game and nature, thatís what made him such a coveted free agent last summer.

In theory, you donít need another ball handler when you have Turkoglu.

Calderon ignites Torontoís second unit, but the Raptors must be focused on the big picture and the big picture only ó the playoffs.

Post-season basketball involves eight-player rotations because teams donít concern themselves with back-to-backs and limited practice time.

Calderon has been a useful player in Toronto.

Heís still useful, but his role has changed.

Itís merely speculative what a player such as Calderon can attract in a trade scenario.

Colangelo has shown that every option is worth exploring, whether he was in Phoenix or Toronto.

As currently constituted, the only legitimate trade option on the Raptors roster is Calderon.

Itís an option worth pursuing because no other option makes sense.


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