"The Los Angeles Lakers are foundering, sitting in a tie for the seventh seed in the Western Conference after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. On Saturday, HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy broke the story that the Lakers have had multiple discussions with Gilbert Arenas, who is still trying to get his knee right before making a decision, but don’t be surprised if the Lakers surface in connection to Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon.
It’s widely known that the Raptors would like to trade Calderon, and they very nearly did before Charlotte backed out of a deal at the last minute at last year’s trade deadline. Now they’re very specifically looking for a starting small forward or a deal that gets them closer to one, and the Lakers could prove to be the team that helps the Raptors in that regard.
The Lakers got an $8.9 million trade exception from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Lamar Odom, and that’s something the Raptors would dearly love to have. You see, the Raptors have targeted Wilson Chandler as their top choice at the three, but he is still technically Denver’s player to lose. When Chandler returns from China he will be a restricted free agent, and sources close to the situation tell HOOPSWORLD that the Raptors plan to make it very hard for the Nuggets to keep Chandler in town.
What Toronto has to do is clear enough cap space to make Chandler an offer the Nuggets will think twice before matching, which is where the Lakers’ trade exception comes in.
The Lakers are looking for point guard help, and Calderon is not only an experienced floor leader, he has also spent time playing with Lakers power forward Pau Gasol on the Spanish national team. Adding Calderon would make sense for the Lakers on a couple of levels, and he would also help new head coach Mike Brown in his quest to transition away from the triangle offense.
The reason Arenas might make more sense is that he would be a very inexpensive addition, though he is also a notch below Calderon at this point in his career. If the Lakers and Raptors were to hook up on this deal, however, it could be a real win-win, which is rare in trade circles. Usually one team comes out ahead of the other for one reason or another, but if Calderon can help the Lakers get back to winning basketball games and the Raptors can use the trade exception to land Chandler, both clubs take a quantum leap forward right away."