June 26, 2014 by Brandon Keller
Earlier this afternoon, an NBA rarity occurred. A Fox News trade went down: it was both fair and balanced. Both sides got exactly what they wanted for a price that was at market value.
|Dallas Gets||Knicks Get|
|Tyson Chandler||Jose Calderon|
|Raymond Felton||Wayne Ellignton|
|34th Overall Pick in 2014 Draft|
|51th Overall Pick in 2014 Draft|
The Dallas Mavericks get back a player who, in his lone season in the Lone Star State, delivered the only championship in the history of the Mavericks organization. A defensive anchor when healthy, Chandler is also a force as the roll man when setting high screens and drawing defenders into the middle of the key, opening up clean outside looks for the Mavericks army of shooters. Basically, if you wanted to create the ideal big man to play next to Dirk (fast, athletic, versatile big who doesn’t post up and can erase defensive mistakes), that player would look a lot like Tyson Chandler.
They also get Felton, who just waddled through a season that would make Baron Davis embarrassed. Felton was out of shape, out of sync, and out of excuses by the end of the season. He needed to escape from New York. However, Felton has proven he can be an effective pick-and-roll player when he gets rid of the keg and goes for a six pack, and if the Mavericks get that player he can either start alongside Ellis or provide a spark of the bench
Then you look at what they gave up, and the trade really makes sense. Jose Calderon was excellent in his first year in Dallas, excelling in taking what the defense gave him and playing his usual smart, turnover free basketball. However, with Monta Ellis emerging as the primary ball handler, Calderon became a 32-year-old glorified jump shooter who struggles defensively and is due three years and $22 million. That is a replaceable asset. Shane Larkin has shown potential, but with Dirk only having a few years left, the Mavericks do not have time to let prospects develop. The last two players are a has-been (Dalembert) and a never-was (Ellington).
Then you get to the draft picks- the 4th and 21st picks of the second round of this year’s draft. As stated earlier, the Mavericks do not have time to develop prospects, as they have a very short window to build a championship caliber team around Dirk. While it would be nice to have the 34th pick in an absolutely loaded draft, it is worth it to get two players who could be contributors to a playoff team now.
Even more important to Dallas is it keeps itself flexible in future years, especially with a certain 6’10” University of Texas Alum due to become a free agent after the 2015-16 season. Dallas takes on over $3.5 million in additional money this year (and that is before including the two second round picks’ contracts), however the deal saves them over $5 million in 2015-16 and over $10 million in 2016-17. The Mavericks add win now talent without sacrificing their long term future, which is what we call in the business a win-win.
New York Knicks
So that was a whole lot of words explaining how Mark Cuban bent Phil Jackson over his knees and delivered him a spankings, right? So how was this a fair deal?
It is a fair deal because the Knicks have different priorities. They have a glut of older and inefficient players, a burden that resulted in an injury report more crowded then Times Square when Dick Clark is in town. The Knicks need young athletes that can defend and hustle, especially when their two big money players for the last few years (Melo and STAT) do neither of those things. The Zen Master doesn’t need to hit home runs at this point, he just needs to find good fits.
Tyson Chandler is not a good fit. While Chandler is an elite defensive presence when healthy, the Triangle is at it’s best with bigs who are skilled passers and post players, not lithe pick-and-roll players. Someone like Pau Gasol, who, and correct me if I’m wrong, is a free agent with a good relationship with Phil Jackson. So the Knicks send Chandler out of town for a decent back up center in Dalembert, a young player in Ellington who with the right coaching can turn into a nice 3-and-D player, and a young athletic point guard with high defensive potential in Larkin. The last player, Calderon, is a perfect addition to a triangle. Calderon’s control, decision making, and shooting is similar to what Derek Fisher brought offensively, and should be a great player to feed Amare and Melo in the post.
The Knicks want young athletes, and no better place to find those then in the draft. In a draft as stacked as this, the 34th pick can yield someone such as Tim Hardaway Jr.’s Michigan teammate Glenn Robinson III, or someone of that ilk. Also, for a cash strapped team a high second round picks may be one of the most under-appreciated assets in the game.
Both teams got what they want. The Mavericks gain solid veterans to surround Dirk while remain flexible long-term. The Knicks get some young legs and entrance into one of the deepest drafts ever. That is straight Fox News, fair and balanced.