Jones: Calderon getting closer

January 5, 2010, 11:08 PM

The Toronto Raptors released Pops Mensah-Bonsu on Tuesday, loosening them from the grip of a guaranteed contract.

The move opens up a roster spot and gives the Raptors a bit of financial flexibility for future moves. It is not inconceivable that Mensah-Bonsu could be re-signed to one or a couple of 10-day contracts, at a cheaper dollar figure of course. There is also the other side of the coin to consider: Would that make sense for the 6’9″ forward? He would have to clear waivers before anything else and you would think that there may be more lucrative deals in Europe. Plus the fact that he will actually get a chance to play.

The business part of the game always needs to be considered but aside from that, Jay Triano did say, “It’s tough because he was good teammate for these guys and did everything we asked him to do.”

Eric Smith and I sat had a chance to sit down with Mensah-Bonsu at the hotel for an exclusive interview where Pops gives his take on what comes next.

Also noteworthy at practice on Tuesday was seeing Jose Calderon out on the floor, getting up and down the court in preparation for a return to the line-up. Triano said how Jose feels Wednesday morning, one day after a full practice, will determine whether or not he plays in Orlando.

“We’ll see how he responds overnight,” Triano said. “I don’t think there will be any hesitation there as long as he’s completely healthy (Wednesday) and not sore. But if he’s healthy, he’ll play.”

Triano said he had not yet talked to the trainers about how much time they thought Calderon could play. When discussing whether Calderon might start the game, the head coach was definitive in his answer.

“He won’t start. I don’t think he’s played enough with these guys the last little bit,” Triano said. “He’ll probably just come in off the bench. I’m not going to disrupt the unit that we have right now.”

Reggie Evans was the other story at practice as he was working on the side, similar to what he has been doing over the last little while. But at one point Triano did say that he got off the floor and dunked the ball.

Wednesday’s game against the Magic is one where the Raptors have a perceived advantage, although we all know how quickly those can dissipate in the NBA. Orlando is on the road Tuesday against Indiana. Let’s see what kind of mind set and effort Toronto puts forth.

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Folks around the GTA and in places where there is a wind chill will get a kick out this one. The traveling media crew is sitting watching the Fiesta Bowl in the hotel lobby and there is a crawl across the bottom of the TV screen. Now these kinds of things are normally reserved for hurricane or tornado warnings down here, maybe snow emergencies and the like in the “Great White North” but not this one. It is a chill advisory warning residents of Central Florida to not go outside unless necessary and cover exposed skin because the wind chill will see the temperature drop into the low 30′s on the Fahrenheit scale, (ooh that’s cold isn’t it, or maybe spring-like temperatures in say Thompson, Manitoba) that’s anywhere between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius. You’ve got to be kidding me, right? It gave us all a good chuckle.

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Gilbert Arenas has finally stopped with the joking and issued a statement after meeting with law enforcement officials on Monday. He reiterated that the guns were in the locker room in an effort to get them out of his house and away from his children and he also apologized to his teammates for “the serious lapse in judgment.”

It was interesting to be huddled around the locker of one of his former Wizards teammates, ex-Raptor and now current Spurs player Roger Mason Jr. on Sunday in Toronto and hear his take on the incident. Like seemingly every other Arenas teammate, he said nothing surprises him with Gilbert since he is a true prankster. After shaking his head, Mason continued on to say that he can see it happening but had some stiff words when he said, “You just don’t do that.”

When asked if he ever saw a gun in the locker room, he said that he hadn’t, but did ask the rhetorical question to all of the assembled media if they could ever imagine bringing a gun to their place of employment.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be and what consequences there will be from the Wizards and the NBA when the entire investigation is concluded.

In the event that you wanted your faith restored a bit in NBA players, check out this article on Roger Mason Jr. Of course it would not make any headlines because there is no drama or negative stuff that sells but hey, it tells you plenty about him, and it’s all good.

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Former Raptor Roko Ukic was released by the Milwaukee Bucks and is headed back to Europe and has reportedly signed a contract to play with a Turkish team. It isn’t just Mensah-Bonsu and Ukic that are making new plans. Veteran point guard Rafer Alston has reached a buyout agreement with the New Jersey Nets and it sounds like the Miami Heat might be interested.

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