Jose Calderon to sign with Mavericks, leaving Pistons in a pickle

After playing just 102 minutes with Andre Drummond, Jose Calderon is leaving the Pistons without true point guard.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Dallas Mavericks agreed to a deal with point guard Jose Calderon, agent Mark Bartlestein told ESPN.com.

The contract is worth $29 million over four years, sources said.

The Pistons made no secret about their desire to keep Jose Calderon, and in that regard, this is a failure.

Calderon never raised the Pistons’ offense the way Patrick or I thought he could, but I think that can partially be chalked up to him and Andre Drummond trading injuries and just pure chance. Though the Pistons didn’t score more with Calderon on the court, he’s still a top-end offensive point guard who can shoot efficiently from the perimeter, make pinpoint passes and protect the basketball.

After even just a half season with Calderon, nobody can be excited to turn the show back over to Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, who are, as Maurice Cheeks called them at his introductory press conference, combo guards. I’m not down on the idea of a combo guard running the offense as most who’ve suffered through the post-Chauncey Billups era – the lack of quality in Detroit’s point guards has been more problematic than their style – but Joe Dumars has indicated he’s moved on.

“It’s clear we need a true point guard on this team,” Dumars told John Niyo of The Detroit News when the Pistons traded for Calderon.

But where to find one now?

Calderon ranked second to just Chris Paul last season in pure point rating (minimum 10 games), and replacing Calderon’s point guard instincts and level of competence won’t be easy.

Jarrett Jack (25th in pure point rating) is an unrestricted free agent, and the Pistons have already talked with him. If I had to guess a point guard the Pistons will sign, he’s my choice by a mile (though I’d take the field over any individual), but he also has other suitors.

Jeff Teague (16th) is more appealing, and Brandon Jennings (31st ) would OK though likely overpaid. But both are restricted free agents, meaning the Hawks and Bucks, respectively, have the option to match any contract the Pistons offer. Now that Dwight Howard is off the market and Paul Millsap is signing there, Atlanta doesn’t seem likely to let Teague get away.

Rajon Rondo (third) would obviously be better than any other option, but the asking price likes begins with Greg Monroe or Andre Drummond, and there’s no clear sign the Celtics are rushing to trade their best player, who’s still just 27 years old.

Otherwise, the remaining free agent pickings are slim. Chauncey Billups would be a lot of fun, but he’s no longer the answer. Will Bynum seems more likely to return than ever, but at this point, bringing back the same guards would qualify as a major disappointment.

The Tayshaun Prince-for-Calderon trade was still worthwhile, because it ridded the Pistons of Prince’s too-lengthy contracts off the books and cleared cap space.

If only there were a point guard to spend it on.

Tags: Andre Drummond ATL-THN Atlanta Hawks Boston Celtics Brandon Jennings Chauncey Billups Dallas Mavericks Greg Monroe Jarrett Jack Jeff Teague Jose Calderon Maurice Cheeks Milwaukee Bucks Paul Millsap Rajon Rondo THN-BOS THN-DAL THN-MIL Will Bynum