In a summer where the Lakers have been maligned for the ways they have chosen to use their massive cap space, their trade for Jose Calderon should not be considered controversial. Similar to the transaction for Jeremy Lin with Houston a few seasons back, the Lakers were essentially paid for the privilege of renting out cap space.
This deal makes sense for both sides. Chicago, who had received Calderon’s contract when they traded Derrick Rose, needed to clear room to sign Dwayne Wade. In exchange for taking on Calderon’s $7.7M expiring contract, the Lakers received two second round picks and have to send back the rights to
Lakers legend Ater Majok, who will likely never see an NBA court. For the purple in gold, this is a smart use of cap space and will enable them to continue to accumulate assets. Even after Calderon, they still have enough cap space to take on additional contracts this season.
On the court, Calderon is a mixed bag, but is definitely qualified to be the third or fourth guard in the rotation. Although 34 years old, Calderon is still an excellent outside shooter – he shot 41% on three-pointers last year and still touts an efficient mid-range jumpshot. He has a high basketball IQ and should fit in well in an offensive system predicated on ball movement. Defensively, he’s beyond a liability. Calderon lacks lateral quickness and might as well have cement feet for how often he gets beaten off the dribble.
Calderon's limitations are well-documented, but that’s why the Lakers were paid to take on his contract. He’s a reasonable backup at this point in his career and comes off the books at the end of the season. Honestly, the most confusing part of this whole transaction was how the Lakers followed it by resigning Marcelo Huertas. Despite Huertas having some nice moments at the end of the season, Calderon is a much better player and Marcelo shouldn’t play much of a role in this year’s rotation.
Trade grade: A-