The New York Knicks have made the headlines for the first time this week that didn’t involve Carmelo Anthony. At one point, I didn’t think that was possible.
Wednesday, the Knicks made a six player deal with the Dallas Mavericks centered around All-Star Tyson Chandler. Dallas will receive Raymond Felton as well, and in return, the Knicks acquire Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and the 34th and 51st picks in this year’s draft.
If you remember, two months ago I wrote a piece on five potential landing spots for Chandler and one of them was Dallas. Oddly enough, it is virtually the exact trade I mentioned, with the exception of Shane Larkin in place of Brandan Wright.
Let’s take a look at why this trade is an absolute steal for the Knicks, and the importance of each piece in this trade.
Players Going to Dallas
The Knicks’ front office has gone through a major makeover with Phil Jackson now in control so it is no surprise that he has started to revamp the roster to his liking. Hiring Derek Fisher to install the triangle should have been the writing on the wall for Chandler as he was not the passing big man that the system requires.
His expiring $14.5 million contract was also an attractive trade piece for teams seeking cap relief or trying to make one last run at a title (as in the case with Dallas). Chandler will be missed for his defensive presence, but at the end of the day, he was definitely expendable as he was mainly just eating salary this season.
Getting rid of Felton may be the best move any Knicks front office member has made in a long time. The often out of shape point guard was atrocious last year and there were already reports earlier this offseason that Jackson informed Felton he would not be returning.
True to his word, Jackson dumped Felton the first opportunity he got. A key to shedding Felton was the Knicks ability to get out of his contract that extended through the 2015-16 season.
Players Going to New York
The Knicks finally get their point guard upgrade as they bring in one the best shooting point guards in the NBA. Calderon is the absolute perfect fit for the triangle offense as he is a lights out shooter (45% from 3 point range last year), a good passer, (4.7 assists per game), good size (6’3″ 210), and a solid on ball defender.
While Calderon is making a little over $22 million over the next three years, he is a good start to a more balanced team that isn’t decimated by two max contract type salaries. This is an instant upgrade for the Knicks and will give Fisher a veteran floor general to ease the Knicks into a new system.
Dalembert most likely was a part of the deal to make the salaries work. He is only guaranteed $1.8 million next year so the Knicks may just buy him out and save up to $7.9 million on this trade. If he sticks around, Dalembert gives the Knicks a defensive presence they lose in Chandler but not much else.
This may be one of the steals of the trade. While Larkin only played 10 minutes per game in his rookie season, he is still very young and was a target of the Knicks last year in the draft before being swooped up by the Hawks at 18.
What Larkin brings to the table is above average speed and athleticism and good perimeter scoring. At just 21 years old, Larkin has the chance to develop into a nice player in this league and will have time to learn the offense behind Calderon.
Ellington comes in as an expiring contract at just $2.7 million this year. While he barely played in Dallas this past season, Ellington is known as a good three point shooter as he shot 43% last year from downtown. Don’t expect much out of him unless it is to come in and shoot.
34th and 51st Picks
For the first time in my life, I am seeing the Knicks actually ACQUIRE picks and not GIVE UP picks. It’s a miracle!
While they are only second round picks, the 2014 NBA Draft is being called one of the deepest drafts in league history. That being said, you can expect to see the Knicks target a big man and possibly a wing with those picks. The point guard position has been addressed through this deal, unless Jackson turns around and trades one of them immediately. Very doubtful.
Overall I think this is a very good trade for the Knicks. They get a massive upgrade at the point guard position which is the most critical position in their new system. Another key to the deal is salary relief this year to possibly acquire another key player to entice Carmelo Anthony to stay. Oh and the Knicks finally have draft picks! Expect to see more rebuilding moves from Jackson over the next couple weeks.