Joe D: On the Trade

Calderon more than an expiring deal to Dumars, Pistons

Joe Dumars says newest Piston, guard Jose Calderon, has long been held in high regard by the Pistons.
Allen Einstein (NBAE/Getty)
When the Pistons shipped Ben Gordon to Charlotte last June for Corey Maggette, Joe Dumars was open about the motivation for the trade: Sure, they liked Maggette’s track record as an attack-mentality scorer, but mostly it was about his expiring contract.

Not the case with Jose Calderon, who also hits free agency in July.

“Yeah, this is (different),” he said Friday. “We’ve tried to acquire him several times from Toronto over the years and were very close a couple of times. This is someone we’ve had high regard for for a while because we just really like his skill set and we thought his skill set could be a very good match with the young guys we have.”

And when July 1 rolls around?

“I think we’ve got 35 or so games left,” Dumars said. “We like him. This is someone we’d have interest in staying with going forward.”

The seeds of the deal were planted about a month ago, Dumars said, when he had talks with Memphis management about “a bigger deal” – likely involving Rudy Gay, whose name popped up about that time as being known to be available – that didn’t come to pass. But on Sunday night, as the Pistons rode to the airport in Orlando after their game with the Magic, Memphis called back.

“Let’s talk Monday morning,” was the message. From there, the deal came together in three days.

Dumars hasn’t yet had a chance to sit down with Brandon Knight – he said he’ll do that Saturday – but he made it clear that Knight remains a big part of the organization’s future.

“I believe that having two guards that can handle the ball, that can score, that can pass, that can initiate your offense, I think that’s probably worked in Detroit before. So I’m a believer in that. I think you can have two guards in the backcourt and our message to Brandon is simply that it’s easy to play with another guard in the backcourt that can do all the things that you can do. It kind of makes you a two-headed monster. It’s going to allow him to look to score more. It’s not like we’re going to take the ball out of his hands completely. They’re going to share the duties. We think it’s going to be a good fit for him.”

Dumars didn’t rule out another trade before the Feb. 21 deadline, but he doesn’t know of any other situations around the NBA similar to Memphis’ circumstance with Gay – trying to trade a highly paid player because of long-term concerns over the salary cap before the season ends.

“I don’t see another situation like that on the horizon,” he said. “You usually know. It’s been no secret about (Memphis’) situation for some time. There have been no preliminary calls for anybody else in a situation like that. So those kind of deals don’t just pop out of thin air. This conversation started a month ago. When you have those types of scenarios, you can’t wait until the last minute to do that. You need some time to put that together, so I don’t really see it.”