“He’s a great player, one of the best, I’d love to play with him,” Calderon said Friday, on a conference call with New York reporters. “I'd love to make everything easier for him and make the team successful and try to get as far as we can.”
Calderon was shipped to New York along with Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks (Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo) in a trade earlier this week. The Knicks sent back Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, in a move president team president Phil Jackson said was made to improve the Knicks' chemistry.
One player Calderon hopes to develop chemistry with is Anthony.
"I think I can help him to get the pressure (off) of him and just give him the ball when he’s ready for it," Calderson said. "That’s what I’ve been doing. I did it in Toronto with (Chris) Bosh or (DeMar) DeRozan, last year in Dallas with Dirk (Nowitzki) and I just try to help him every time. And because of my 3-point ability I can give him even more space. So that can be a great space for him."
Anthony is a free agent and will start meeting with teams interested in signing him next week. The Knicks can offer Anthony the most money (approximately $33 million more than any other team). With Calderon, they can now sell Anthony on the idea of playing with a strong point guard as well.
The nine-year veteran is widely seen as a strong fit in a triangle offense because of his ability to knock down outside shota (he hit 45 percent of his 3's last season). Historically Calderon has struggled on defense, though, which could be an issue for the Knicks. New York had a tough time defending on the perimeter and struggled to guard the pick-and-roll last season en route to a 37-win campaign.
Another potential issue? Calderon has never run the triangle. But he’s confident he can thrive in it.
“At the end of the day, the good thing about it is more than anything it’s a team offense -- try to find the right guy, try to put the guys in the right situation and look for where the weak spots are,” Calderon said. “It’s been working with a lot of really, really good players. Like I said, I’ll be able to open the floor, make the right decisions for my teammates.”
Calderon also hopes to help Andrea Bargnani get back on track. Calderon played with Bargnani in Toronto.
"I think I could help him. I know the injuries the last couple of years, he wasn’t able to show the potential he has,” Calderon said of Bargnani, who was limited to 42 games and hit just 27 percent of his 3-point attempts last season. “Sometimes when you’re No. 1 in the draft all the pressure is there, all the expectations are there. But he’s great ... he’s one of the guys that can open the floor: a 7-footer who can play four and spread the floor for everybody.
"It’s about confidence too and I help with that. I played with him in Toronto for us, a lot of years. And he’s a good friend and for sure I (will) try to help him and put him in the right situation for him to be successful. He’s a guy who’s really going to be important for sure."
Calderon is also close friends with Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, a potential free-agent target in 2015. Calderon said he’d have no problem helping recruit other players such as Gasol to New York -- if the situation presented itself.
“For sure, this is my team. I’m going to help to improve (it) as much as I can,” he said. “Anybody that we can get here or would be interested (in coming) I’d be willing to talk to, to try to make them come to the Knicks, I think we are one of the best franchises ever. Everybody wants to play here. So perhaps ... hopefully we can get those guys in New York.”
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