Monday, July 2, 2012
Does Nash to Toronto mean Calderon to L.A.?
By Brian Kamenetzky
There are a few good reasons Lakers fans might want Steve Nash to take the three-year, $36 million offer extended him by the Toronto Raptors, located smack dab inside his home country of Canada. He'd be out of the division and unable to hurt the Lakers multiple times a year, and away from contenders like Dallas or Miami, teams the Lakers could see in the postseason.
Add one more. Via ESPN.com's Marc Stein, should Nash elect to go north of the border, the Raptors would likely create cap space for him by amnestying point guard Jose Calderon. Assuming he clears waivers through the NBA's amnesty process (no sure thing, as Chauncey Billups can attest -- there's a strong chance Calderon would be claimed), Stein reports the Lakers would have the inside track to the Spanish point guard, who would enjoy the chance to play with Pau Gasol.
Assuming Pau is still a Laker, of course.
Clearly this is not a one-step process. Nash must sign with a team some still consider a long shot, because the Raptors aren't very good. Calderon would have to clear waivers, which he very well wouldn't, and join a team for whom his buddy still plays. But should all that happen, unlike most FA's there's a legitimate chance Calderon could play with the Lakers for a minimum contract, because Toronto would still be paying him off the amnestied contract, worth about $10.5 million.
If the Lakers could pick up a player of his caliber without a trade or using their mini mid-level, it would be quite a coup. Calderon has some weaknesses (he's a bad defender, for one, and has trouble staying healthy for another), but is still a very good player.
Just goes to show how many moving parts there are at this time of year, and how one transaction can influence others. A butterfly flapping his wings in the Amazon, and all that.