When the New York Knicks used the Amnesty Clause on Chauncey Billups in order to clear cap room for the Tyson Chandler signing it was felt that the Knicks may have put the best frontcourt in the NBA together. Who was going to stop the combination of Chandler, Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony? Because of several factors the combination hasn't worked out. With the team struggling this season and the focus shifting towards the future of the organization, it's time to trade Chandler.
The New York Knicks lack size and defensive skill. So why in the world would they ever think about trading their starting center who is a former Defensive Player of the Year? In the long-term, trading Chandler could be the right move for the organization.
In January, Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Knicks were turning down every offer they got for Chandler.
The Knicks continue to get calls for center Tyson Chandler and, according to sources close to the situation, continue to scoff at every one. New York, to this point, has no interest in parting with its defensive anchor.
Now it's February and the trade deadline is quickly approaching. Come February 21, it will be too late to make roster changes. The Knicks need to pull the trigger now.
Anyone watching Knicks basketball this season has seen Chandler struggling. His numbers are down nearly across the board this season. In fact, this has been Chandler's worst season in New York.
In his first year in New York Chandler averaged 11.3 points, 1.4 blocks, 0.9 steals, 0.9 assists and 9.9 rebounds per game. In his second season in New York he averaged 10.4 points, 1.1 blocks, 0.6 steals, 0.9 assists and 10.7 rebounds.
This season, his numbers have continued its downward spiral. Thus far he's averaged 8.2 points, 1.3 blocks, 0.7 steals, 1.1 assists and 8.8 rebounds per game. What's worse is that missed time with injuries and playing the least amount of minutes (28.2 mpg) and and shooting his lowest percentage (60.1%) since joining the Knicks.
The good news is that Chandler only has one more season after this one left on his current contract so even if the Knicks don't trade him they won't be stuck with him for long. The bad news is that he'll be getting a raise ($14,596,888 up from $14,100,538 this season) next season.
That basically means that when Chandler's 32 and at his least productive since signing with the team he'll be making the most he has during his time in New York. That's bad all the way around for the team no matter how you look at it.
What if the Knicks decide to see what they can get for him? What if they entertain the calls coming into general manager Steve Mills' phone?
First of all, you have to realize that the Knicks are going to place a higher value on his presence than potential trade partners. Then you have to realize that prospective suitors will try to devalue him and try to get him for at the lowest price possible.
Something else to keep in mind is that Chandler is not going to bring a lottery pick to the Knicks. Anyone dreaming of the Knicks getting a top pick for him in the upcoming draft needs to give that dream up right now.
Teams that are rebuilding or tanking the season aren't going to be chasing Chandler. He's 31 and not the kind of player you can build your team around around.
Any trade partner with the Knicks would be a team competing who might believe Chandler could help them have an edge over other top teams. In the draft pick department, the best the Knicks could hope for is a late first round pick.
Equally unlikely is the thought that New York could land another superstar. Anything is possible but it's very unlikely the Knicks have the talent nor the draft picks to package Chandler with in order to land someone you'd consider a superstar. Don't expect the Knicks to send Chandler to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo.
Instead the Knicks should be looking into trading Chandler for one thing and one thing only, flexibility. Sure the organization would love to land a first round draft pick in the upcoming draft. However, doing so isn't going to make anyone in circles jumping for joy. The real prize in trading Chandler would be shedding his salary.
That would mean the Knicks would have to not do what they usually do and take on long-term deals in exchange for him. No, they should only take on expiring deals and low salary players (rookie deals and veteran minimum contract). In fact, they should try to shed as much salary as possible and try to package another undesirable contract along with Chandler. If the Knicks could get rid of Raymond Felton and/or J.R. Smith it could free money up for next season and the summer of 2015.
"They're one confident bunch," a league executive said this week. "To listen to them, they expect to have Carmelo re-signed and have another star with him in another year. They're so sure about it you'd think they already know what will happen."
…the Knicks fully believe they will get one or two of the following in free agency in 2015 when they expect to have large salary-cap space: Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker or Rondo when his contract is up. Under certain circumstances, James himself could be a free agent again that summer.
Packaging Chandler with Smith and Felton in favor of expiring deals won't bring the Knicks under the salary cap next off-season. Not with Carmelo Anthony (presumably), Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani under contract. However, it would give the Knicks $10,939,750 (Smith's $6,399,750 and Felton's $4,540,000) more to work with in 2015. That could potentially mean signing two more stars in addition to Anthony.
The combination of shedding payroll and acquiring draft picks is probably more valuable than Chandler's vocal leadership, defensive skills and tip-out rebounds. Chandler can still greatest contribution to the Knicks' future. However, it may not be as New York's trade bait instead of their starting center.
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