With cap space to spare and free agency winding down, the Los Angeles Lakers made a smart move and acquired a pair of second-round picks from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for absorbing the contract of veteran point guard Jose Calderon. Fortunately, the 34-year-old Calderon can still fill a role for the Lakers as a backup for D’Angelo Russell.
Calderon has spent most of his NBA career as a starter, but he frustrated New York Knicks fans for the past two seasons with his sub-par defense. However, in an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Calderon admitted that he is ready to come off the bench, and probably should have been in that role for the past few seasons:
“I was ready for a different role and I was ready for a different role the last couple of years. Maybe there wasn’t the player to put ahead of me. I always said I wasn’t the one putting me in the starting role or playing me 35 minutes.”
For the Lakers, Calderon’s desire to move to the bench shows that he is realistic about where he is currently as a player, which is crucial whenever a veteran is removed from the starting lineup. He also sounded excited about joining the Lakers, and believes that a reduced role on the team will help extend his career:
“(The Lakers have) a good mix of young players[…]I would like to play 15 years in the league, so hopefully three more years. I played 30 minutes [28.1] last year. I don’t think I’ll play that much ever again, so I’ll be able to play more years. I’m happy and comfortable here.’’
Calderon has been known as a maestro in the pick and roll, and the fact that he shoots 41 percent for his career from three will certainly help. His defense has not been good, but the Lakers wouldn’t have been able to extract assets from the Bulls if Calderon was a lock down defender on top of being a solid distributor and shooter.
The recently resigned Marcelo Huertas figures to compete with Calderon for backup minutes, and together the duo gives the Lakers two veteran, professional players who should be a positive influence on a very young team.