There isn’t a lot the Los Angeles Lakers can do this offseason, but they have to make at least a signing or two, regardless of it they manage to keep Dwight Howard or not. On the radar? Jose Claderon, maybe the best free agent point guard on the market.
Calderon is picking up plenty of attention – the Pistons want to re-sign him and he’s also visiting California, with the Sacramento Kings particularly interested. But the Lakers have also hinted they would like to see the veteran point guard playing for them, but don’t have too much to offer.
Adding Calderon makes a lot of sense. He’s been called a “poor man’s Steve Nash” for a reason. Calderon is an excellent passer and shooter, often ranked among the best in the NBA when it comes to offensive efficiency. He barely turns the ball over (1.7 throughout his career), is a pass first kind of player (7.2 assists per game, 8 field goal attempts per game) and is an excellent three point shooter, with a league best 46.1% last season.
And coming in as a backup to Steve Nash? That would give the Lakers a very similar in attributes duo at point guard, even though both of them aren’t really known for being especially impressive on the defensive end.
The problem for the Lakers is money. Calderon made $11 million last season, and the Lakers don’t have the “title contenders” thing to waive in front of him and cause Calderon to drop his wage demands considerably. They can give him a Mid-Level exception deal, which will be around $3 million next season, with a slight rise over the next few years, in what probably will be a two or three year deal for a 31-year old player.
All of a sudden, the Lakers don’t look like such an attractive option for free agents, especially if Dwight Howard leaves. They don’t have money to offer, and they don’t have a championship caliber squad to showcase. Kobe Bryant might comeback just as good as he was before, but the same problems the Lakers had last season, especially on the defensive end, aren’t going away, even with Calderon, who doesn’t take care of their age issue as well.