In the buildup to Thursday's NBA Draft, a lot of teams will be wheeling and dealing while clearing cap space and improving their rosters, and the New York Knicks were involved in the first big trade of the offseason.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Knicks traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington and two draft picks (34th and 51st picks ) in Thursday's draft.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks, who immediately made reacquiring Chandler one of their priorities after their first-round playoff exit against San Antonio, soon will complete a trade with the Knicks that they will clinch by agreeing to take back the contract of New York's out-of-favor guard, Raymond Felton, as well.
The trade is expected to cost Dallas two starters — point guard Jose Calderon and center Samuel Dalembert — along with prized young point guard Shane Larkin, reserve guard Wayne Ellington and future second-round draft compensation.
Sources tell Stein that the teams are in the process of setting up a call with the league office to get the requisite approval on the trade.
While the Knicks lose a key defensive process in Chandler, they will dramatically upgrade the point guard position while getting rid of the headache that was Felton.
After winning a title with the Mavericks in 2011, Chandler signed with the Knicks as a free-agent and has done well in his stint in New York. The Mavericks have since been missing a reliable, defensive post presence that they can rely on night in and night out, and they have been yearning to reacquire Chandler for a long time and think he can propel the Mavericks toward a deep run in the playoffs.
Again, while in the short-term, losing Chandler hurts the Knicks, and who knows how Carmelo Anthony will take the news, but this might have been needed to get done to rid themselves of Felton. Felton was a major disappointment last year, and his work ethic, shape and drive has been questioned and criticized from front-office personnel and fans alike.
In return, the Knicks get two quality point guards back. One is a steady veteran in Calderon and the other is an intriguing prospect in Larkin. Not to mention, they acquire a decent, albeit declining center in Dalembert.
Calderon is coming off a season in which he averaged a steady 11.4 points and 4.7 assists. Although not one of the flashiest players in the league, Calderon is a veteran of nine years with career averages of 10.2 points, 6.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds while spending time with the Raptors, Pistons and Mavericks. The only snag could be picking up Calderon's contract, which will be on the books for another three years. Then again, Phil Jackson could look to move that in another deal.
Larkin is an interesting case.
Drafted with the 18th pick by Atlanta (and traded to Dallas on draft night) in last year's draft, Larkin struggled to adapt to the pro game initially. He averaged just 2.8 points and 1.5 assists last season while also spending time in the D-League . However, upside is the word when describing Larkin, as he showed in college at Miami that he can distribute the ball, shoot from deep and lead a team. Once the training wheels are off, Larkin could blossom into a steady, headstrong point guard in the NBA under the stewardship of new coach Derek Fisher.
Dalembert, at 33, is clearly on the decline, but he has been useful before and has averaged 6.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his career. Granted, the Knicks get the worst of this center swap—when you compare Chandler to Dalembert—but when you count it all up, this trade has to be viewed as a win-win for the Knicks.
Looks like the Knicks got a pretty nice haul for Tyson Chandler.— Ryan Ruocco (@RyanRuocco) June 25, 2014
And don't expect Jackson to be done trading. He will look to reconstruct the Knicks' roster, make more trades to free up money and mold the team in his image.
It should be one busy and exciting offseason for the Knicks and Wednesday’s deal could be just the start of some big changes.
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