Rumours have surfaced over the past few days that the Raptors have inquired about the availability of Los Angeles Lakers centre Pau Gasol and the names Toronto might have to give up could include Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon, but Sam Mitchell thinks that would be a dicey move.
The former Raptors coach, who was a guest on Tim and Sid on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Friday, said, “If I’m the Lakers, I do that deal in a heartbeat.”
Mitchell, who coached both Calderon and Bargnani with the Raptors, said that the pieces would fit better in Los Angeles than Gasol might in Toronto.
“You’re getting a quality back-up point guard in Jose Calderon who can run that pick-and-roll offence that Steve Nash who is 38, 39 years old is going to be asked to do. So your point guard position is now solidified,” he explained.
“Also, Andrea, whether he is making shots or not, he’s known as a three-point shooter. He’s seven-foot guy that can stretch the court, create space and allow the pick and roll to develop.”
While the deal would solve problems for the Lakers, Mitchell wondered how they would fit in Toronto.
“The question on the Raptors side is: What do you do with Pau Gasol?” Mitchell asked.
“Everyone talks about how good Pau Gasol is — and he is — but Pau Gasol hasn’t lived up to a $19-million contract the last two years,” Mitchell said, although he pointed out that a change of scenery might help revive Gasol.
Mitchell was asked whether Calderon, who will play his 500th game as a Raptor Friday night, is underappreciated in Toronto.
“Maybe I’m biased when it comes to Jose but I would not have won coach of the year without Jose Calderon.”