L.A. Lakers trade rumors have Jose Calderon drawing interest from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs are looking to add a piece or two before the February 23 NBA trade deadline, with a playmaker at the top of that list. LeBron James would like another point guard coming off the bench for the Cavs, making Calderon a possible answer for the team.
A report by ESPN analyst Marc Stein came out early Saturday morning (Feb. 4), listing Calderon of the Lakers and center Andrew Bogut of the Dallas Mavericks as two players who could wind up in Cleveland soon. Both players could help with the second unit, giving the team someone who can take care of the ball or someone who can play well in the low post.
Jose Calderon was traded to the Chicago Bulls by the New York Knicks this summer as part of a package of players for Derrick Rose. The Bulls then sent Calderon to the Lakers in a move that amounted to a salary dump. Since that time, Calderon has been serving as the primary backup to starting point guard D’Angelo Russell.
In 23 games this season (11 starts), Calderon has averaged 12.4 minutes per game for the L.A. Lakers. His per-game averages are 3.5 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.7 rebounds. For his career, Calderon is also a 41.1 percent shooter from three-point range, which is still part of his game in Los Angeles. Injuries have kept him from being a regular part of the rotation, but he also saw some time as the starting point guard.
This is the final year of a contract that will pay Calderon about $7.7 million for the 2016-17 NBA season. It’s part of a four-year, $29 million deal that he signed in 2013 with the Dallas Mavericks. At the time, he was seen as a stop-gap option when the team failed to lure Deron Williams down to Texas. After just one season with the Mavs, he got traded to the New York Knicks. The Knicks felt he could be a good teammate beside Carmelo Anthony as the starting point guard.
For these L.A. Lakers trade rumors to lead to anything, the Cleveland Cavaliers would have to deal some salary away. As the Cavs are far over the salary cap and already paying a luxury tax, the team would have to match the salary of Jose Calderon. Currently, the Cavs have the highest payroll in the entire NBA, with roughly $129.5 million in committed salaries this season. The closest teams on that list are the Portland Trail Blazers with about $120.1 million and the Detroit Pistons with about $115 million.
It should be very easy for the Cleveland Cavaliers to convince the Lakers to part ways with Calderon, as he is in the final year of his contract and the front office doesn’t plan on re-signing him. The acquisition of Calderon was simply to bring another draft pick to the team and the Lakers did need another player coming off the bench. Now that the Lakers are fading fast in the Western Conference, the team has no incentive to keep him on the active roster. If a deal isn’t made with the Cavs, it’s still very likely that he is dealt before the NBA trade deadline.
The main question becomes what the Cavs are willing to give up in return for Calderon. He is a good point guard who can take care of the ball and distribute it on the offensive end. He is not very good at creating his own shot but has been fine with a passive role that helps other scorers on his team. That might be the perfect player to put on the court with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love because he wouldn’t be demanding the ball. Can the L.A. Lakers convince the Cavs to give up a future first-round pick to acquire Jose Calderon?
[Featured Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]