Report: Lakers First Choice For Jose Calderon?

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 5: Jose Calderon #8 of the Toronto Raptors drives around Derek Fisher #32 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 5 2010 in Los Angeles California. The Lakers won 108-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Ever since the Raptors entered the conversation as a possible destination for Steve Nash, the unspoken assumption has been that Jose Calderon, long the Raptors' fixture at point guard, would be receiving the amnesty axe in order to clear enough cap room. With this latest development from ESPN's Marc Stein, we have good reason to root for all of the above occur, as Stein reports that Calderon's first choice should he clear the waiver wire process would be to join his fellow Spanish countryman Pau Gasol in Los Angeles.

Reason being: Sources say that the Lakers -- as long as they retain Pau Gasol -- have an inside track to sign point guard Jose Calderon if the Raptors, as expected, must amnesty Calderon's contract to create the needed salary-cap space to sign Nash.

Calderon is a solid point guard who shoots well from distance, is very accurate finishing around the rim, and is a superb floor general -- look at the incredibly high pure point ratings every year owing to the sky high assist ratios combined with small amount of turnovers. If not for the fact that he was a traffic cone on defense and a bit injury prone, he would be far more highly valued around the league. For the Lakers' purposes, however, Calderon would be a great addition next to Kobe Bryant as a player who can work with and off the ball, and constitutes a fair upgrade over Ramon Sessions.

Now, some caveats. First, Calderon has to clear the amnesty process and it is somewhat difficult to see whether teams under the cap would skip on a very serviceable starting point. Calderon has little leverage in this process other than to declare his displeasure at landing at a less than desirable location. Next, there is the small complication that the Lakers have been shopping Pau Gasol for basically the entire offseason and there is a very good chance that he is gone by the time Calderon would have a chance to sign. Thankfully, Stein reports that Calderon would also be interested in pairing with Argentinian Luis Scola, so if Houston consummates its oft-mentioned interest in Gasol and Scola is included, that could alleviate those concerns. Altogether, this is a long shot when all things are considered, but it is good to know that an option like Calderon exists should all the dominoes fall in a favorable manner.

Follow this author on Twitter @brosales12.

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