Calderon's uncertain future

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

Jose Calderon's confusing summer took another bizarre turn for the worse, a development that should have no bearing on the Raptors' ability to trade their point guard.

Everyone in the NBA knows what Calderon can bring to the table, but more importantly they know what he can't do on the floor, which is to say that he can't play defence, or at least he can't keep his man from getting into the lane.

In a perfect world, Calderon would be leading his native Spain on a long and memorable run at the coming world championship in Turkey, where virtually every NBA GM is expected to congregate.

With so many league officials in one setting, it's natural that trade seeds would get planted, names being bandied about even at time when most teams have already completed their off-season makeovers.

Calderon will now be unavailable to Spain following an injury to his hamstring, a setback the veteran Raptor developed against the U.S. on Sunday.

In today's messed-up world of reporting, where Internet garbage gets packaged as gospel, where bloggers are somehow viewed as credible, Calderon was feared to have torn a leg muscle.

Turns out Calderon sustained a minor hamstring injury, which is expected to heal prior to the start of the season.

Whether Calderon begins the season in Toronto or somewhere else remains the most pressing question surrounding him.

It's no secret the Raptors are intent on using Jarrett Jack as their starter in the backcourt.

It's no secret the Raptors are going young with a rotation that will feature the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems and Amir Johnson, players who are best served in an uptempo system.

Calderon has his deficiencies, for that there is no argument, but chief among them is his unwillingness to attack the basket and put pressure on defences.

In the absence of creators who can get their shot off in a half-court set, it becomes incumbent to play a quicker game, a style that doesn't allow opponents to set up on defence.

It's why the Raptors thought they had a deal in place earlier this summer to move Calderon and Reggie Evans to Charlotte in a package for Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw.

Calderon no longer fits into the Raptors' system, which is no fault of his but it does speak to the misguided decision to award an average player such as Calderon with an above-average contract.

So desperate are the Raptors to rid themselves of Calderon that they even contemplated, according to several reports, a multi-team trade that would have brought back T.J. Ford to Toronto.

People scoffed at a Ford-Jack reunion, but the Raptors aren't exactly in a position of strength.

Ford's contract comes off the books next summer and his deal does include a buyout, which could have been exercised this season.

Calderon has two years left and all means, no matter how strange they may appear on paper, must be explored and exhausted.

At the international level, Calderon is a much more productive player because pick and pops are more commonly used involving bigs who can shoot from beyond the three-point arc.

The Raptors were a pick-and-roll team, but the team that will take to the floor this fall is short on shooters and very thin on guys who can handle the ball and make the right decision with it.

Calderon and his wife celebrated the birth of the couple's first child earlier this summer.

He's a good guy who plays hard and says all the right things, but he no longer fits in Toronto.

His expected arrival at training camp will be awkward because every question he fields will involve the trade to Charlotte that got nixed and Calderon's comfort level being in an environment he knows he no longer belongs.

When he got hurt against the U.S., Calderon did provide a brief interview with The Associated Press, which quoted Calderon as saying: "There is not much to say. It's a pity I was injured at the last minute."

Funny, but it's a pity his trade to Charlotte wasn't finalized.

HIS ERRNESS AGAIN

Michael Jordan used the first-overall pick when he ran the Wizards into the ground to take high schooler Kwame Brown in 2001.

Now the owner of the Bobcats, word is out that Jordan has reached out to Brown to join a Charlotte team coached by Larry Brown.

ESPN.com broke the news earlier on Monday.

No word on the impact Brown's arrival will have on Erick Dampier, whom Charlotte acquired from Dallas. Dampier is a high-priced stiff who can be bought out.

FRANK.ZICARELLI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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