Jose Calderon wants to make it easy for Carmelo Anthony . . . on the Knicks
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Jose Calderon believes he can make Carmelo Anthony's job easier and hopes to get that chance.
Anthony will become a free agent Tuesday, and some higher-profile and more influential players than Calderon want to speak and play with him. (Think LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.)
But Calderon, a heady point guard and the key piece acquired by the Knicks in Wednesday's six-player trade with the Mavericks, would like to talk to Anthony and let him know he can get him open looks, just as he did for All-Stars Chris Bosh in Toronto and Nowitzki in Dallas.
"For me, it's always to put everybody in the right situation," Calderon said on a conference call Friday. "I don't make everybody work for their shot every time. He's one of the best players in the league. I'd love to play with him. I think I can help him, take a lot of pressure off 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 and with Dirk the last year with Dallas. And because of my three-point ability, I can give him more space.
"I'd love to make everything easier for him and make the team successful and try to get as far as we can. He can be a big part of this for sure. Anything I can do to make him stay, for sure."
The Knicks acquired Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. They used the picks on versatile Wichita State scorer Cleanthony Early and defensive-minded, athletic Greek forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo in Thursday's draft.
Calderon is an upgrade at point guard and should improve the Knicks' overall basketball IQ. A good decision-maker, Calderon regularly is near the top in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio. He ranked third behind the Clippers' Chris Paul and Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni in 2013-14.
The Knicks made some costly mental mistakes late in games last season. Calderon said he can help fix that.
"That's my game," he said. "I'm not a 25-point, whatever. I'm a team player, a [pass-first] point guard. I'm going to try to put everybody in position, try to make the right decision at the end. I've been playing for a while. I know how to handle those situations. I will try to do what Coach wants at the end of the game and execute the right way."
Calderon also believes he will flourish in the triangle offense. Ellington, who played in it under Phil Jackson disciple Kurt Rambis in Minnesota, agreed. "I think he'll fit into that triangle with his shooting ability and his competitiveness," Ellington said.
Jackson said he made the trade primarily to "change some of the chemistry" on the Knicks, and that more moves will be made.
The Knicks have a glut of guards and wing players, so they'll likely try to lessen that logjam. They also acquired the draft rights to French big man Louis Labeyrie, who won't play in the United States this season. He also could be used in trades.
The Knicks could use more size. Although Chandler's play dipped since his first year with the Knicks in 2011-12, he was their best rebounder and defensive anchor. But Dalembert, a better shot-blocker than Chandler, said he can fill that void.
"That's what I've been doing throughout my career," Dalembert said. "I've always been a defensive guy and I'll always be able to protect the paint. I don't think it should be a problem."