Let’s face facts, not many Raptors games are going have much meaning down the stretch. However, the two games with the Detroit Pistons should have some for a lot of people. Jose Calderon playing against the only team he had know in the NBA for 8 seasons and than a couple days later will spark some emotions in him. He would not be human if it didn’t.
It will also for those who loved Calderon should be an emotional experience. This of course never included me. I haven’t given Calderon much if any though since he left in the trade that brought Rudy Gay to town. It was a sense of relief for me that he was gone. It was getting to the point I wondered if he ever would be. Especially when he some how made his way back into the Raptors starting line-up and remaining when Kyle Lowry returned from injury.
Assuming Lowry is able to play these games should mean a lot for him as well to solidify that he is indeed the man and Raptors made the right decision in bringing him and doing away with Calderon. For the rest of the Raptors it likely will be a strange experience as Calderon was here long before any of them arrived. I may have my own personal views on Jose but it was pretty clear he had the respect of the guys he shared a locker room with.
Calderon in 24 games with the Pistons has seen his percentages rise from both the field and from distance with the Raptors in 45 games he shot 47% from the field and now with Pistons he is shooting 52.2%. He is shooting the same 52.2% from beyond the three point line compared to just 42.9% with the Raptors. His point total is only slightly better in a Pistons uniform with 11.8 per game compared to the 11.1 he averaged with the Raptors. Maybe as proof the Raptors do have some offensive talent his assists numbers have dipped in Detroit with just 6.7 per game compared to 7.4 with Raptors.
When all is said and done he has produced his best numbers likely since he signed his big contract with the Raptors. Also already playing more games than he has since 2007-08 when he played in all 82 games for the Raptors. Jose Calderon is no different from anyone else in a contract year it would appear. Great team guy he may well be but make no mistake when Calderon sees a payday coming it seems to motivate him.
Given the Raptors terrible cap situation that has only one good thing about it for people who were never Jose Calderon fans. It means there is no chance in hell he could return to the Raptors. They will not be able to afford him. In reality the Raptors really did need to turn the page from Calderon and from Andrea Bargnani. For whatever you think of either it has not worked with the Raptors for sometime now. They are last pieces of a long gone Raptors team that won a Division Title when Bryan Colangelo first arrived and Chris Bosh still loved Toronto. That was the high point of the combo of Calderon and Ford but it would only go down hill from their ever since that banner was raised to the rafters at the ACC. The Raptors would lose to Vince Carter and Nets in 6 games. Boston the following off-season would create the original big three and it has been down hill from there.
Love him or hate him you know that Calderon will be fired up for this game tonight as well as what no doubt will be an emotional return to Toronto. A return that the Raptors will likely embrace 1000% as it is a good way to get butts in seats at this time of year. I bet his return to Toronto is mentioned minimum 25 times tonight also noted that tickets are still available. Calderon is the Raptors record books in a number of categories and you can’t deny that. What you also can’t deny is for all he is praised he lost the series vs. Nets with a turnover. He was outplayed by Jameer Nelson in a 5 game series defeat to the Magic in the Raptors last playoff appearance. He also has been the starting point guard off and on for 5 seasons of missing the playoffs.
It also has to be mentioned that Calderon and his agent did a fantastic job of holding the Raptors’ feet to the fire to get that huge contract that he is about to finish up. Jose Calderon who always said he was willing to do what was best for the team in the end did what was best for him. Suddenly after months of saying it didn’t matter if he came off the bench or started the minute he touched down on Spanish soil he was singing a different tune. He forced the hand of the Raptors to not only pay him that over valued contract but force them into a terrible trade with Pacers that saw them give away as it turned out an All-Star Center along with T.J Ford and Rasho Nesterovic.
I have no doubt that by the end of these two games I will be ready to throw up like a kid that runs muck with his Easter Chocolate. Still it is hard to see your favourite player move on to somewhere else. It was hard for me when Ford left in that trade. So believe it or not I do have sympathy for people who were and maybe still are his true fans. I just don’t think Jose Calderon at his core is as good a guy as everyone would like to make him out to be. However, to deny he had a major impact on people in his time in Toronto would not be the case.
To say that I would every miss him would be the biggest April Fool’s Joke I have ever pulled. But it isn’t April first quite yet. I will avoid the obvious jokes I could use that are tied the date he is returning to Toronto. Honestly that is a more fitting return date for Chris Bosh not Jose Calderon.
The simple fact is Calderon and I will never be Amigos. That said, he made many of them in Toronto and for all of those people it will be an emotional few days. In what has been a pretty emotionless time for the Raptors losing 5 games straight and making us all wish the season would end already.
I guess any emotion from sadness to joy is better than none at all.