Ole, Ole, Ole. Jose's deal is done
|STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR|
|Jose Calderon and his signature moves are staying in Toronto.|
Got the flags out? Fireworks ready? Beverages cooled and the barbecue have lots of propane?
Happy Canada Day!
Well, that sure didn’t take long.
Jose’s coming back.
"Early this morning, through my agents, I reached a preliminary agreement with the Toronto Raptors,” Calderon said in a message posted on his website Tuesday.
"I want to thank (president and general manager) Bryan Colangelo, (assistant GM) Maurizio Gherardini, (coach) Sam Mitchell and all of the Raptors family for the confidence that they have placed in me. I am sure that together we are going to achieve big things in the future.”
Getting Calderon under contract was the biggest task Colangelo faced, as well all know.
He was going to call over to Spain right after midnight last night and that call was obviously expected and welcomed."When two parties want to reach an agreement, you can reach an agreement very fast," Calderon's agent, Alvaro Tor said this morning in a telephone conversation from Spain.
Of course, Jose wouldn’t say on his blog how much the deal’s worth or how long it’s for but I’d be shocked if it was for less than $8 million a season and if it didn’t run for four years with maybe an option of a fifth. But that’s just deductive reasoning, no one who’s in a position to know has ever mentioned those terms.
Guess we’ll find out soon, though, ‘cause that’s what we do.
What’s it all mean?
Not much that hasn't been said, given that we all expected it forever.
It does, as we’ve mentioned, oh, about a billion times over the last five or six days, take the Raptors out of any significant role in the rest of free agency.
So that means, given the tax concerns and the current payroll that all those questions about Mickeal Pietrus, Bostjan Nachbar, Ron Artest, Chris Duhon, Corey Maggette are answered easily:
No. No. No. Not going to happen. Isn’t possible. Put it out of your mind.
Told you to check back.Not only have the Raptors reached an agreement with Roko Ukic, according to a league source, they've also got Hassan Adams to agree to a contract. Adams, who had a cup of coffee with New Jersey in 20006-07 and played in Spain last year, was discovered at the free agent camp in June, making him this year's version of Jamario Moon. So, all the wheeling and dealing is done for now. All that's left to do is make all the moves official, sign Nathan Jawai and the summer's work is done.
Here’s one from the mail that’s pretty topical:
Q: Hey Doug, how helpful will Jose Calderon be as a mentor to Roko Ukic this upcoming season seeing as they share similar paths getting to the NBA, playing the same position and making the transition from the Euroleague to North America. What are the hardest things Ukic will need to adjust not only personally but just as a young point guard making the jump to the NBA. Also wondering if you could shed some light or your thoughts on the recent wave of European teams seemingly trying to lure players back with more money. Is the NBA concerned about this? Thanks for your insightful coverage.
Zack R, Etobicoke
A: Calderon is going to be invaluable to Ukic, absolutely. You can see a lot of similarities between what Ukic is going to have to go through and what Calderon’s already dealt with, although the one major difference will be that Ukic is much more fluent in English than Calderon was and that’s got to help.
What Calderon does that’s under-rated is have a good sense of the game, he knows what weaknesses to exploit, how to handle an offence so everyone gets involved and if he can impart some of that to the kid, it’ll be huge.
Ukic’s biggest adjustment is going to be handling the speed of the game and the overall calibre of the competition. European basketball is a lot of things but two that it isn’t are quick like the NBA or as deep in talent. That’s going to be the measure of Ukic, how he handles those two things.
As for the European clubs luring players back, I have to say I’m not surprised. With the exchange rate, the creature comforts they can offer (most deals include housing and transportation) and the fact they want to “strike back” at the NBA for taking its best young players as one executive told me recently, teams over there are being more aggressive.
I think what you’ll see is marginal NBA-talent Europeans heading back earlier than they might otherwise and you’ll see good North American-trained NBAers maybe extend their careers by a year or two living the high life in some gorgeous European locale.
A word about Canada, by the way.
We’re a nice people, generally. Too polite at times. Like last night in Hamilton.
Amid a couple hundred or so flag-waving, drum-banging, wildly-cheering, passionate fans from Lebanon sat about 800 Canadians, cheering only in reaction, rather than in action.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a somewhat surprisingly large turnout and it was nice for the national team to have a crowd to play in front of but, really, you’ve got to do better tonight and back here on the weekend.
It’s been forever thus, of course, visiting teams are treated to raucous cheers, Canada gets support but nothing over the top.
But just because it’s been that way forever doesn’t mean it has to be that way in the future.
End o’ rant.
Happy Canada Day.
We’ll check into the mail real fast
Q: I was reading up about Nicholas Batum, and it says that he hasn't missed a game in two years. What kind of injury and/or flaw could he have had that made Toronto completely stop considering him?
Thomas N, Milton
A: It wasn’t an injury, per se. It was an abnormal result to one of the myriad tests they put people through that put a red flag from the team’s medical staff, I’m told.
And maybe it turns out to be nothing but it certainly wasn’t something the Raptors wanted to take a risk on.