Although this summer lacks the flash and promise of cap space in 2015, it’s going to be a big offseason for the New York Knicks. Currently, they’re in the process of trying to bring in a new head coach — Steve Kerr is the favorite — and when July 1 hits, they will try to bargain with Carmelo Anthony to bring him back to New York on a new contract.
Under Phil Jackson, the Knicks will be taking a new direction, and that will extend onto the court, too. They’ll be initiating at least parts of the triangle offense, and thus, they’ll need players who fit that system. The problem is, however, the Knicks have very little financial flexibility to try and acquire players who could play the triangle. Unless some team is lining up to take Amar’e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani off the Knicks’ hands, the Knicks could potentially look at trading Tyson Chandler if it gives them the flexibility they need to retool the roster.
According to Ian Begley (via Marc Stein), Chandler will have suitors this summer if the Knicks make him available. And according to the latest New York Knicks rumors, he might’ve been available during the season:
The Knicks had a chance to move Chandler at the 2014 trade deadline, but opted against it. Consistent word from those with knowledge of the team’s thinking at the time was that Chandler was off limits, due in part to his relationship with then-team president Steve Mills.
Will Chandler’s status as an “untouchable” change now that Phil Jackson is running the show? That’s unclear at this point. Dealing Chandler this summer could clear some money from the Knicks’ salary cap if the team accepting Chandler has the requisite cap space. Chandler is scheduled to make $14.6 million in 2014-15 — the final year of his contract.
Begley also mentions that the Dallas Mavericks remain interested in reuniting with Chandler, and that the Knicks may be wise to wait until the trade deadline to try and find a better deal.
If these sources are correct in saying the Knicks wouldn’t move Chandler because he was close to Steve Mills, then we can only be more thankful for the Phil Jackson Era. Chandler remains a fan favorite, and for the better part of three seasons, he’s been one of the most passionate, hard-working players to put on a Knicks uniform. He’s incredibly important to the Knicks for his defensive anchoring, pick-and-roll prowess, and vocal leadership.
All of that said, the Knicks would’ve been foolish to not even think about trading Chandler. 2013-14 was Tyson’s worst season as a Knick as at times he looked both mentally and physically incapable of dealing with the disastrous season. His numbers were down across the board, and for the first time in his tenure with New York, he looked as if he had quit on the team.
If the Knicks had looked into trading him, they could have a.) saved some money, b.) potentially looked into acquiring a draft pick, and c.) gotten some either young talent or bargain-bin players. It’s not as if Chandler in a poor season would command that much in the trade market, but the Knicks could have at least looked into it. “Untouchable” is a strong word, especially for a team with little in the way of financial or player assets.
We’ll see this summer if the Knicks are indeed willing to part with Chandler to try and gain financial flexibility or perhaps fill some holes elsewhere.