For the second time in 6 days, Jose Calderon has been traded. After being part of the deal which sent Derrick Rose from the Bulls to the Knicks, Calderon was again dealt, this time to the Lakers, in a deal which helps the Bulls clear cap space to sign Dwyane Wade (coincidentally, another Chicago legend) in free agency.
Chicago has traded guard Jose Calderon to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 7, 2016
Lakers will get two future second round picks from Bulls and will give up rights to an undetermined player
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 7, 2016
As Mark Medina notes above, the Lakers receive two 2nd-round picks for their trouble. Eating Calderon’s salary for future draft picks, even if only 2nd rounders is simply good business. The Lakers have cap space to burn and this is why “flexibility” is often touted by GM’s. There is more than one way to utilize that space and like the Lakers did with Jeremy Lin two seasons ago, they get draft considerations in order to take on money.
As for the fit, as we wrote, the Lakers still have a need for a backup point guard and Calderon will fill that role nicely. He’s not a good defender and his days as the type of dynamic assist man where he could average 7-9 dimes a night are behind him, but he is the type of veteran PG whose experience is what the Lakers sought from Marcelo Huertas, but actualized at the NBA level.
Calderon is also still the type of shooter who can provide spacing and work as an off-ball sniper who can do well as a spot up option. He is a career 41.2% three-point shooter and has not hit under 41% of his long range shots since 2012. He’s also a good mid-range and long two point shooter who can take a step in against hard closeouts and still knock down shots.
This level of accuracy can prove valuable in any offense, but especially in one where ball movement and hitting the open man will be a key principle. Calderon’s ability to play on or off the ball will also be a key asset, especially in lineups where he’s playing with either D’Angelo Russell or Jordan Clarkson.
As noted above, Calderon does have his weaknesses and just as his strengths can be accentuated, his flaws will also shine through. He is no longer an NBA level defender and there will be nowhere to hide him on that end of the floor. He lacks the quickness to defend PG’s and doesn’t have the size nor strength to defend wings. Even if you put him on a non-shooting wing, that player can still attack the offensive glass or work as a cutter to beat him.
Even with all this, though, I like this move even though it will likely mean Huertas does not return. Calderon only has one year left on his deal so his contract is not a long term burden. He’s already 34, but his experience at this level can be used as an asset on such a young team — especially a young backcourt like the Lakers’. At this stage of his career, he might not be the dynamic passer Huertas is, but offensively he’s a much superior shooter which might matter more in Walton’s offense. And, defensively, they are both disasters so that is probably a wash.
In the end, then, the Lakers have filled another need with a veteran who can help in some ways and will likely be a negative in others, but that’s what you get with a 34 year old backup. The fact that the Lakers will get a couple of picks out of this deal sways this towards a positive move, however, and makes it well worth the one-year investment.