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After trade to Pistons, Calderon still working out visa issues

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The Associated Press
2/1/2013 5:18:30 PM
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Jose Calderon is eager to make his debut for the Detroit Pistons. First, he has some visa issues to resolve.

The Spanish-born guard was not available to play Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he was hopeful the delay wouldn't be too long. Detroit, which acquired Calderon from Toronto on Wednesday night, hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

"Hopefully as soon as possible," Calderon said. "I'm just observing for now, but hopefully, it's quick."

Calderon was at the team's practice facility earlier Friday, and the Pistons are already figuring out how their roster will work with the addition of the 6-foot-3 point guard. They're viewing Calderon as a short-term solution on offence -- and potentially a long-term member of the lineup.

Pistons president Joe Dumars says the team wanted Calderon because of his talent -- not just because of his expiring contract.

"We've tried to acquire him several times from Toronto over the years," Dumars said. "We like him. This is someone that we'd have some interest in."

Calderon played for Toronto for seven and a half seasons before being traded Wednesday night. The Pistons sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis as part of the three-team deal.

Calderon joined the Raptors from Spain in 2005. He is averaging 11.1 points and 7.4 assists this season.

"I am a point guard," he said. "It's a team sport. You cannot win by yourself. There's only one or two Kobes or LeBrons."

The 31-year-old Calderon says he's open to staying with the Pistons after this season.

"You're never going to close any doors. ... I'm a free agent in the summer, and we'll see," he said. "It's always good when you're in a place where they really want you. That makes a huge difference."

The Pistons entered Friday night's game in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, 5 1/2 games behind eighth-place Boston. The Celtics just lost All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to a knee injury, which may have improved Detroit's chances of chasing down a playoff spot.

But the Pistons are still in a bit of a rebuilding mode. Over the last three years, they've used first-round draft picks on big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, as well as guard Brandon Knight.

Calderon's arrival could mean Knight plays off the ball a bit more, although coach Lawrence Frank likes the idea of having multiple ball-handlers on the court at a time.

"We've got guards," Frank said. "If we can defend, we'll be able to get out in the open court more. We'll be able to run more multiple pick-and-rolls."

Dumars, meanwhile, is ready for an off-season of increased flexibility. Space under the salary cap can be used either to sign free agents or to trade for established players on other teams that are looking to trim payroll.

"The flexibility right now in the NBA is a huge asset for any team," Dumars said. "The way things operate now in the NBA, teams have to make moves for financial reasons. You want to be in a position to be one of those teams to benefit from that."

Jose Calderon (Photo: Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images)
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