Jose Calderon doesn't believe he's played his last game as a Knick.
The veteran point guard said he wants to return next season and thinks he will. "I really want to stay here," Calderon said. "I think they want me here. That's the feeling I got. I think I really can help this team next year."
Acquired in the offseason trade that sent Tyson Chandler to Dallas, Calderon had a disappointing, injury-plagued first season with the Knicks.
The 10-year veteran missed the first 13 games with a calf strain and the last 25 with an Achilles injury. Calderon averaged 9.1 points (his lowest output since his second season), 4.7 assists (the third-lowest of his career) and shot a career-worst 41.5 percent from the field.
Calderon, 33, is under contract for two more seasons and is owed $15.1 million. The Knicks tried to move him before the trade deadline and it's possible they could waive him using the "stretch provision" -- stretching out his contract on their books for double the length of the deal plus one year -- if they can find an upgrade at point guard.
There are so many questions concerning the Knicks, who will end the franchise's worst regular season Wednesday night at the Garden against Detroit. The Knicks (17-64) will end up with one of the NBA's three worst records, which assures them of a top-six draft pick.
Team president Phil Jackson will use that pick and the roughly $30 million the Knicks will have for free agency to start building a competitive and contending team. Amid the change, Calderon hopes to be able to add stability next season and redeem himself.
"It wasn't the best season," he said. "I'll be back to Jose Calderon. I think it will be easier for me next year with all we're trying to do with the group of guys we're going to have and the guys who are going to stay.
"Just being here in this culture, being here with a coach and with what we want to do, it will be good. That's why I'm really confident. I'll be ready. I have the whole summer to get ready."
"I'll be ready for next season. I know it's going to be a good one for the Knicks."
The Knicks saw the heady, selfless Calderon as a good fit for their triangle offense. But his early-season injury affected the team chemistry. Calderon, like many Knicks, never found his rhythm.
Calderon knows the business of the NBA, and that his name will be mentioned in different scenarios this offseason. But he doesn't seem concerned.
"It'll be there," Calderon said with a big smile. "To be honest, I want to be here. When you go through a season like this, you don't want to be out of it when good things are coming.
"We'll have some new guys or whatever. Melo will be healthy, and we'll be good. We'll be a good team, for sure."The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision.
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