Jose Calderon: “Playing with Dirk was something that was important for me”
It wasn’t always the Mavericks’ intention to land Calderon. But after the Dwight Howard dominos fell and the Mavericks opted not to pursue Andrew Bynum after being scared away by his chronic knee issues, the team started considering other options. Their starting center is still to be determined, so stopgap candidate Samuel Dalembert met with the team on Thursday.
However, this uncertainty is not too big of a concern for Calderon, who is ready to settle for a big role in coach Rick Carlisle’s offense.
“For sure, it’s important to have a big center. But at the end of the day, the way coach plays and if you play the right way with a guy like Dirk (Nowitzki), it makes everything a little bit easier for everybody,” said Calderon. “If you play the right way, you may not need that big a star at the 5 position.”
“You just need a guy who can complement Dirk, who can play defense and rebound the ball. Maybe you’re not looking at Dwight or Andrew Bynum like there were talks around there,” continued Calderon, “but you mainly need a guy who can complement and can give you good work out there without being a star to make us a good team.”
Calderon revealed that in choosing a team he had to go over every aspect, and in the Mavericks’ case: “the team, the franchise, the coach, the players – (especially) playing with Dirk was something that was important for me -- the city, a little bit of everything.”
Even the ownership of the team had a significant effect on his decision.
“You’ve got an owner who really likes to win. When you know you’ve somebody who is going to do whatever it takes to win, it makes you think about just coming to Dallas,” Calderon said of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “You know he’s not going to wait 10 years to try to win. He’s going to always to try to get the better opportunity out there.”