NEW YORK (AP) Jose Calderon believes he can make life better in New York for Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani.
Nobody knows if he will get to play with both.
Acquired from the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, Calderon is coming to a Knicks squad that is faced with losing Anthony to free agency next month.
If the All-Star forward stays, he may benefit from playing with Calderon, the longtime point guard for the Spanish national team who is an outstanding 3-point shooter.
”He’s one of the best players in our league and I’d love to play with him,” Calderon said Friday during a conference call. ”I think I could help him to just take a lot of pressure out of him, just give him the ball when he’s ready for it.”
The Knicks also acquired center Samuel Dalembert and guards Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington in the deal, sending starters Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas. New York also obtained the Nos. 34 and 51 picks in the draft, which it used on Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of Greece, who played last season for Delaware in the NBA Development League.
It was the first move for team president Phil Jackson, who will turn his full attention starting Tuesday to Anthony. The Knicks’ leading scorer has opted for free agency and the team wants to keep him.
”I think he’s a great player, one of the best. I’d love to play with him,” Calderon said. ”He could be a big part of this for sure, there’s no question about that. Anything I can do to make him stay, for sure.”
Calderon has averaged 10.2 points and 6.8 assists in nine seasons while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range. He noted the success he has helped All-Stars Chris Bosh and DeMar DeRozan achieve in Toronto, as well as Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas last season.
He was also with the Raptors for Bargnani’s peak. But the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft has struggled with injuries the last few seasons, and his first one with the Knicks was cut short by an elbow injury. Calderon thinks he can help his friend rediscover his confidence and his game.
”Last couple of years, he wasn’t able to really to show the potential he got. And sometimes when you’re No. 1 in the draft, sometimes all the pressure is there, all the expectations are there. But he’s great,” Calderon said.
”He’s a good friend and for sure I’ll try to help him … put him in the right situation to be successful and he’s a guy who’s going to be important for sure.”
The Knicks hope Dalembert can help replace Chandler, the former Defensive Player of the Year.
”That’s what I’ve been doing throughout my career,” the 12-year veteran said. ”I’ve always been a defensive guy.”
Larkin was a first-round pick last year but broke his right ankle in the summer, and the son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin averaged just 2.8 points in 48 games.
”The injury kind of set me back, was out for like 4 1/2 months and kind of just put me behind the 8-ball where my first game in the NBA I was kind of just of thrown in there and saw what was going to happen,” he said. ”So I think just a fresh start in New York is going to offer me a new opportunity to go in there and create a different first impression.”