Experts are quick to point out that the New York Knicks are strapped cap-wise this off-season. The Knicks are over the salary cap and therefor will only have the veteran's minimum and a mid-level exception worth $3.287 million per year at their disposal. However, the Knicks do have expiring contracts they could trade this off-season to make roster changes. Could Tyson Chandler find himself on another team in the off-season?
Out of the four main expiring contracts on the New York Knicks roster — Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler — there's only one contract truly worthy of the Knicks shopping and that's Chandler's. Why? These contracts have to fit two categories to be worth trading this off-season.
The first category is that the Knicks want to rid themselves of the players. Anthony could and probably will opt-out of his contract. Regardless, the Knicks fully desire to keep him around. That basically takes Anthony right out of this conversation.
Stoudemire is an interesting case. He's loyal, an extremely hard worker, a great representation of the Knicks franchise, a wonderful teammate and leader and James Dolan loves him. However, his questionable reliability and inflated salary make him someone many want to jettison.
The bottom line is, with his uninsured body and huge salary no other team wants him. Additionally, his expiring contract is worth more to the Knicks than what others would offer for him. Ironically, Stoudemire could thrive in the triangle offense — especially playing center.
This should be the last contract he ever sees even close to the maximum but if he's willing to take a drastic pay cut it wouldn't be shocking to see Phil Jackson talk to him about re-signing with New York after his contract expires. Although Stoudemire did play well this season he's just too much of a risk because of how his body contently fails him for another team to offer enough to the Knicks to make New York think twice. The bottom line is, trading Stoudemire is very unlikely.
Andrea Bargnani is another player who could fit nicely as a center in the triangle offense. New York will likely try to utilize him in a Pau Gasol role. That being said, he's injured more often than Stoudemire and many question his future in the NBA. No team is going to take him in a trade let alone be as foolish as the Knicks to give up a first round draft choice to get him. Scratch him off the list.
That leaves Chandler. Chandler is one of the few Knicks — like Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith to a lesser extent — with trade value. Chandler is overpaid. The Knicks gave him a near-max deal in order to keep him from signing with the Golden State Warriors. He's good but he's not that good.
That being said, Chandler plays good defense and is a very good rebounder. He's a player that could really help a contending team such as the Oklahoma City Thunder. He also has a contract worth $14,596,888. That's money the Knicks wouldn't mind have coming off their books in time for the 2015 free agent period.
It also gives them a player with value and an expiring contract that could bring back a nice return. After all, Chandler doesn't fit the profile of a center in the triangle offense and he's already been vocal about his desires to move on to another team this off-season.
Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders thinks the Knicks could trade Chandler this off-season.
I do think they are a bit more flexible than some are thinking, because I think they end up moving Chandler this summer. Teams looking for a rim-protector with an expiring contract.
What the Knicks don't want is to bring back contracts that would hurt their salary situation heading into the 2015 season. The only exceptions would be players they might build around moving forward.
That leaves the Knicks looking for a team with the right combination of smaller expiring contracts that add together to get close enough to Chandler's salary to make the trade work and who also is willing to offer the Knicks draft picks.
That won't be easy but it won't be impossible either. Chandler is coming off a down year but he could still play a major part on a contending team.
Jackson shouldn't give Chandler away. He's a former Defensive Player of the Year, All-Star and NBA Champion. However, he might be the Knicks top trade chip at the moment
If Anthony leaves, New York's mid-level exception would be worth $5.3 million. However, that's not a scenario the Knicks want to find themselves in.
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