Jose Calderon never really had a lot of peace of mind during his last few years in Toronto: there was always someone nipping at his heels and wanting his job; a front office that never came out and anointed him as a leader on the team; rumours swirling one after the other; a general manager who eyed his expiring contract as an asset more than he eyed the man as a player.
But even with all that—the uncertainty that it brought and the angst it may have created—when the end finally came, it came as something of a surprise.
“It was hard, yes, very hard,” Calderon said Thursday in his first Toronto interview since his trade from the Raptors to the Detroit Pistons via the Memphis Grizzlies in early February.
“Even if you knew it was coming because of the expiring contract and all the rumours the last couple of years—I never got the whole, 100 per cent confidence that ‘hey, you are our point guard, you are our guy’—I always put that aside and I was always like, ‘this is my home.’
“I was playing good, we were playing better, I think it happened when I least expected it. It was like, ‘now it’s happening after all those rumours?’ ”
Yes, it happened. And it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination because, true to his nature, Toronto’s career leader in assists and only one of four players to have played 500 games in a Raptors uniform, never got to let people know how he felt.