When the defending champion Dallas Mavericks let Tyson Chandler go in a three-team sign-and-trade in the 2011, they were letting go of their defensive anchor and source of interior toughness. Three years later, the Mavs hadn’t been able to fill that hole at center…until now.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the Mavs and New York Knicks have completed a trade to send Chandler back to the team he won an NBA championship with three years ago. The deal also sends Raymond Felton to Dallas, while the Knicks will acquire Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and a two second round drafts pick in this year’s draft (No. 34 and No. 51).
This might sound crazy, but the Knicks are actually coming out ahead here. Phil Jackson‘s vision of shedding unwanted salary and maintaining cap flexibility is starting to come to fruition, since Chandler’s $14.6 million in 2014-15 and Felton’s $7.7 million over the next two years are off the books. Jose Calderon still has three years and $22 million left on his contract, but he’s a far superior point guard to Felton in just about every way at this point.
For the Mavs, the big get here is obviously the return of Tyson Chandler, but is it really such a great move? Calderon had a good season in Dallas even with his hefty contract attached, averaging 11.4 points and 4.7 assists per game. Felton is a definite downgrade, and that’s before you consider he comes attached to a guy who never played more than 66 games in a season in his three years with the Knicks.
Bringing home a fan favorite like Chandler is good in theory, but Chandler’s been sidelined quite frequently with a myriad of injuries over the past three seasons. He only averaged 8.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game last year, both lows during his time in New York. Although the Knicks are sporting an anemic frontcourt right now, they made the better move here. That’s right, folks. The New York Knicks just won a trade for the first time since ‘Nam.