A sizable portion of Dallas Mavericks fans are still criticizing Mark Cuban and company for breaking up the 2011 NBA champions by signing and trading Tyson Chandler that summer. Three years later, it appears Dallas is trying to make up for its mistake. A report from ESPN says that the Mavericks have completed a trade with the New York Knicks that brings Chandler back to the Big D.
UPDATE: The trade has been finalized, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Jeff Goodman. The Mavericks will receive Chandler and Felton from the Knicks in exchange for Calderon, Dalembert, Larkin, Ellington, and the 34th and 51st picks in Thursday’s draft.
PREVIOUSLY: The news is courtesy of ESPN’s Marc Stein. Though the trade has yet to be completed, Stein makes it seem as if a deal between the teams is imminent.
The Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of reacquiring center Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks, according to sources close to the process.
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.
With Carmelo Anthony set to hit free agency, it makes sense for Phil Jackson to shuffle the deck. Chandler is still a very valuable player, but the Knicks aren’t anything close to a contender in the Eastern Conference as currently constructed. New York will need to make drastic moves to improve its roster this summer if it has any chance to re-sign Anthony, and shedding Chandler’s $14 million salary certainly helps in that regard. Conversely, this could be a sign that the Knicks are ready for a full-blown rebuild. Simple logic supports the latter idea, but time will tell.
Calderon is an upgrade over Felton at point guard, too. Though a bit overpaid and helplessly overmatched on defense, Calderon is an elite shooter and canny playmaker that seems an ideal fit for the Triangle offense. Getting Larkin would be big for the Knicks, as well. He played just 48 games in Dallas last season due to injuries, but is a fantastic athlete and stands to bring some much-needed off-dribble dynamism to a New York backcourt that lacked any semblance of it last season. Larkin is no sure-thing impact player, but seems destined to be an offensive spark-plug off the bench at the very least.
Though Dalembert isn’t the finisher or rim-protector that Chandler is, he played well relative to expectations in Dallas last season. Plus, his contract is unguaranteed for the 2014-2015 season. Ellington seems like flotsam in this deal. He’s a very good shooter that offers little else.
Felton is the other big name here. He’s proven a viable starter in the past, but those days seem long gone. Felton is coming off the worst season of his career and recently pleaded guilty to a gun-possession charge that will result in no jail time. He could produce for the Mavericks if in shape and engaged. Still, Dallas would be best served dipping into the pool of free agent point guards to find a starter come July.
Perspective is pertinent with this trade. Chandler remains one of basketball’s top interior defenders and still draws attention as a roll-man in high ball-screen situations. He isn’t the guy that won the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year award, however, and missed at least 20 games due to injury in two of his three seasons with New York. Chandler is merely a good player in 2014 as opposed to the great one that Mavericks fans remember him as. That’s no knock, either, just a realistic encapsulation of his current worth.
This move would indeed put Dallas closer to real contention in the West, but still only moves the needle so far. More turnover is coming for the Mavs. As for the Knicks, it all hinges on Anthony’s decision. Either way, this is the beginning of an overhaul for them, too.
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.