Jesse D. Garrabrant

Calderon Looks to Lift Teammates, Create Space for Melo

by Jonah Ballow

Jose Calderon’s confidence and optimism was on full display during a conference call on Friday afternoon.  The 32-year old has seen it all with extensive experience overseas and with four NBA teams in the span of eight seasons.  As president Phil Jackson and rookie head coach Derek Fisher plan to install the famous triangle offense, Calderon is prepared for the challenge.

“When you change a team, you just have to go there and you are going to play different than the team before and I know the triangle is a little different but at the end of the day it’s about training camp, getting ready, and going there and be ready to execute,” Calderon reiterated.

The Spaniard became an elite level 3-pointer shooter this past season by hitting 44.9 percent behind the arc on a career-high 425 attempts.  However, Calderon is not concerned with his own production.  He is determined to help his new teammates and is already exuding the leadership qualities of a true point guard.

“At the end of the day, the good thing about it is ore than anything it’s a team offense – try to find the right guy, try to put the guys in the right situation and look for where the weak spots are.  It’s been working with a lot of really, really good players.  Like I said, I’ll be able to open the floor, make the right decisions for my teammates,” Calderon confirmed.

Throughout his time overseas and the in the NBA, Calderon has developed strong bonds with players, including Knicks forward/center Andrea Bargnani and point guard Pablo Prigioni.  Calderon wholeheartedly believes he can lift Bargnani’s game to the next level after an injury-shortened season for the big man in New York last year.  He’s also hopeful Carmelo Anthony will return to the Big Apple, so he can alleviate pressure on the court while creating the necessary space for the All-Star to operate in the triangle offense.

“I think I can help him to get the pressure (off) of him and just give him the ball when he’s ready for it.  That’s what I’ve been doing.  I did it in Toronto with (Chris) Bosh or (DeMar) DeRozan, last year in Dallas with Dirk (Nowitzki) and I just try to help him every time.  And because of my 3-point ability, I can give him even more space,” Calderon stated.

On Friday, Calderon’s excitement was evident when discussing his new crew but he also mentioned the possibility of recruiting free agent friends to join him in New York.  Calderon played with the Gasols on the 2012 Spanish National Team that won the silver medal.  Pau Gasol is a free agent this summer and his brother Marc will enter free agency in the summer of 2015.

“Anybody that we can get here or would be interested I’d be willing to talk to, to try to make them to the Knicks, I think we are one of the best franchises ever,” Calderon said.

Calderon made it quite clear that he is dedicated to the improvement of his game and the players surrounding him.  The point guard is a major piece to the re-tooled roster in New York and his passionate approach might be exactly what the doctor ordered to get the Knicks back in the postseason mix.