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Toronto Raptors Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations Ed Stefanski said he has no idea how things will play out with regards to the Jose Calderon vs. Kyle Lowry situation.
“It’s going to play itself out eventually, how it plays itself out, we don’t know yet,” Stefanski said on the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 the Fan.
“Right now I would have to say it’s a nice problem -- especially (with) getting Kyle healthy and we saw Tuesday night what Kyle can do when he’s aggressive and we have to have that,” said Stefanski who serves as Bryan Colangelo's right-had man with the Raptors.
Stefanski said Calderon’s play has earned plenty of praise around the league.
“Where people are talking about Calderon now, a lot of teams in the league love the way he’s playing basketball,” he explained.
But part of the reason the Raptors made the trade for Lowry was because the 31-year-old Calderon is in the final year of his contract.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how this goes but your right, Calderon is in his last year of his contract so something has to give,” Stefanski said.
Calderon is obviously just one piece of the puzzle the Raptors have to consider shifting as they move toward the trade deadline but the big question is if they are going to be buyers or sellers between now and Feb. 21.
“We do look at it obviously on a daily basis. We look to see where we are, what we are doing -- are we improving?” Stefanski said. “The deadline for a trade is Feb. 21, so that’s over a month away. We’ll have a very good feel over the next few weeks whether we will have a chance to be a contending playoff team or not.
“I said all along and before the season started, at the end of March if we weren’t competing for that eighth spot or so I’d be disappointed.”The Raptors have been without Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas for quite a while now but the latter’s timetable suggests he should be back sooner.
“Friday, Jonas goes back to the doctor for another x-ray to see how he is healing. That would be five weeks,” Stefanski explained. “We were told closer to six weeks so we are hoping that the injury from the x-ray looks like it is healing so that the doctor will let him have a little bit more contact or a little bit with the ball.
“With Bargnani, he’s going to have to go back too -- I believe that’s next week -- to look at how the elbow is healing but I think that’s weeks away also before Andrea steps back on the court.”
Two of the players that have benefited from extended minutes in the absence of the injured pair of big men are Ed Davis and Amir Johnson.
Stefanski said he has been pleasantly surprised by Davis' play of late.
“With Ed, I always thought that he was a rotation player and when I say rotation player, I go up to top eight guys, and I always saw Ed as that sixth, seventh, eighth man off the bench and a player in the NBA,” Stefanski said. “But I have to say that his numbers and the way he has played in a starting role have been very impressive.
Davis worked hard in the off-season with the Raptors coaching staff on his shooting form and Stefanski said it has paid off as “his stroke looks great.”
“His stock is rising toward that sort of starter type role which is great for the organization.”
And he clearly loves the work rate Johnson has put forth this season as well.
“With Amir, I don’t care where I ever go, where I am, I want Amir on my basketball team,” Stefanski proclaimed. “This kid is a warrior. I don’t know how many times he has rolled his ankle and just gone back into the game.”