Knicks Begin Cap Space Clearing – Send Chandler to Mavericks for Calderon, Ellington, Larkin, Dalembert and 34th and 52nd Picks

NY POST

In the first blockbuster trade of the summer, the Knicks send Tyson Chandler back to Dallas for 4 players and 2 picks.

According to ESPN, Tyson Chandler will be back in Dallas next season. In a trade to cut Knicks salary and give the Mavericks a rim protector, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton are going to Dallas in exchange for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and the 34th and 52nd pick in this years draft.The Mavericks would finally get a real rim protector in Tyson Chandler who has a few years left of his prime left. Raymond Felton would step into a backup role for the Mavericks, with Devin Harris likely starting. The Knicks would acquire a new starting point guard in Jose Calderon, who isn’t exceptionally talented or athletic, but he can shoot and is a pass first point guard on a modest contract that expires in the summer of 2016. Shane Larkin is a young prospect the Knicks can develop over time and Wayne Ellington and Dalembert’s contracts both expire next summer, the same time as Bargnani and Stoudemire. Overall, the Knicks are shedding 3,056,33 million in salary, which is small but shedding Chandler’s salary and moving Felton who is coming off of his worst season in recent years is a promising start for the inevitable roster overhaul the Knicks will undergo.

Good trade?

Mavericks:

The Mavericks are looking to win now. With Dirk’s time limited and a roster full of experienced veterans in place, any addition that can bring them closer to a championship is the right move to make. The Mavericks needed a defensive presence still in his prime. Dalembert is a solid defender but lacks the athleticism and inside presence of someone like Tyson Chandler. While there were a lot of names shipped to New York, the Mavericks didn’t lose a lot. Shane Larkin who showed promise last season is a long-term project the Mavericks don’t have time to wait for. Wayne Ellington was basically irrelevant for the Mavericks last year as he only contributed 8 minutes a game. Chandler is an upgrade over Dalembert, which leaves Calderon, who is the only player the Mavericks could understandably be sour about letting go. As a great passer and spot up shooter, Calderon was an integral part of their playoff run, which was unfortunately ended in Game 7 of the first round against the eventual NBA Champions; the Spurs. Chandler fills a hole in their defense and maybe a return to Dallas where Chandler won a championship in 2011 can spark another run next season.

Knicks:

And people doubted Phil Jackson… This coming season for the Knicks will most likely be a sham – simply a season before another. With Carmelo Anthony unlikely to re-sign with New York, Phil will have to wait for the summer of 2015 where Stoudemire and Bargnani’s contracts expire for him to make any major changes to the roster. Shedding Chandler’s contract now for value in return is smart as he was unlikely to re-sign next summer with New York anyway. Chandler struggled with injury early on but had one of his worst seasons since 2010, averaging 8.7 points and 9.6 rebounds. His defensive presence, while still very much alive, looked worse because of the awful defense he was in charge of anchoring. He was due 14.6 million next season. The Knicks not only got rid of him now, but in his place found the perfect point guard for the triangle offense. Calderon, an exceptional passer and spot up shooter is custom-made for a triangle offense and a huge upgrade over Raymond Felton who is coming off the worst season of his career, averaging 9.7 points and 5.6 assists on 39% shooting and 31% shooting from deep. Dalembert, while older and not the same player he used to be, can still man the paint effectively. Larkin can be a project the Knicks develop over time and Ellington is someone who despite limited minutes last season has range – he’s shot 38.6% from deep throughout his career. While Calderon is surely a long-term piece the Knicks will likely rebuild with, Dalembert and Ellington both expire after this season, and the Knicks will have a team option with Shane Larkin. The Knicks also acquired the 34th and 52nd picks. The 34th pick while a 2nd rounder, is probably the equivalent of a mid-round 1st pick in any other years draft due to the plethora of talent in this years draft class. According to sources, Phil Jackson has also looked to flip Larkin and Dalembert along with a 2nd round pick they acquired in this deal with the Mavericks for a late 1st rounder. This is the first of presumably many deals Phil will make to try and rebuild the Knicks team who disappointingly went 37-45 last season while missing out on the playoffs.

Exciting Moments Ahead

Only 22 more days till the most anticipated NBA tip-off in recent memory. The excitement is indescribable, already rumours are beginning, teams are practicing and fans are biting their nails, anxiously awaiting Christmas day. Exciting moments are on their way. In the spirit of Christmas I bring to you the 12 most exciting things to look forward to this season.

12. NBA Tip-Off

Although, the NBA tip-off is only one day of a 66 game season. It will begin the domino effect of exciting games. The match-ups all consist of star players and exciting teams. Boston’s Big Three takes their talents to New York to match up against the Knicks Big Three.  A finals rematch in Dallas. Former MVP’s match up as the Bulls take on the Lakers. Superman is flying to Oklahoma as the Magic take on the Thunder. And Bad Blake will begin the hundreds of mind-blowing dunks as the Clippers take on the Golden State Warriors. Merry Christmas indeed.

11. Celtics Too Old?

After the Celtics lost to Miami’s Big Three in the conference semi-finals last year, a lot of people said they didn’t have the young talent to compete with the upcoming teams in the league. Such as, Miami, Oklahoma, Chicago and so on. The Big Three in Boston have a title and know how to win and what it takes to win. Something that is taken for granted through the eyes of fans. Garnett still has his toughness, and maybe he isn’t as quick as he used to be but he still has a killer shot and knows when to step up. Ray Allen, hasn’t aged at all. His three is still lights out, as well as his mid range jumper. And people can say nothing about Paul Pierce, after all his exciting plays this season. This play in particular….

There is no need to even watch past 0:24. I’m just saying, the Celtics still got it and although they may be looked upon as the old timers in a new generation they have some tricks up their sleeves. The Celtics may play with a chip on their shoulder and that means terror for other teams in the league.

10. KD Not Kidding Anymore

After barely beating the Grizzlies last year and losing to the Mavericks in the conference finals, KD knew he could never go through anything like that again. He was done losing, after getting his heart broken by the Lakers in the 1st round in ’10 and losing to Dallas in ’11 he knew he had to change. This summer he has wasted no time improving his game. Here is proof…..

I cannot wait to see Kevin Durant develop more as a player and as a scorer and bring Oklahoma City their much deserved ring.

9. Grizzlies Back on Their Grizzly

When the Grizzlies defeated the number 1 seeded Spurs in the west I was shocked. Heck, the whole world was shocked. The Spurs had been having a picture perfect season. 60 wins and the 1st seed in the West. They thought they had a legitimate chance at a title. Then the young, scrappy, Grizzlies came along and silenced San-Antonio and the NBA world. Then when they forced a game 7 against KD and the Thunder we began to really take them seriously. Unfortunately, they couldn’t push past the Thunder. However, they exited the playoffs with nothing to be ashamed of. They gave two of the best teams in the West a run for their money. They may have failed in the playoffs but succeeded in imprinting their game in everyone’s mind. Now that Mike Conley, Z-Bo, and Rudy Gay are back, the Grizzlies will enter this season as legitimate competition. I can’t wait to see more of their electrifying game.

8. Rookie Class

This year’s rookie class is nothing special. There are no Lebron’s, no Kobe’s, nobody that is an obvious star. However, that’s what makes it interesting. Anyone of the  rookies can jump out and surprise us, almost like Blake Griffin did with his first  NBA dunk. The favourites for Rookie of The Year are Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. However, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette and Ricky Rubio may want a piece of the spotlight. Maybe this rookie class isn’t filled with future stars but they are filled with exciting players.

7. Knicks Gelling

The new look Knicks played 42 games together last season, Melo and Amar’e brought  a glimmer of hope to the one city that needed it most. Now they hope to develop upon that and expand that glimmer of hope into a championship.  Due to Amar’e’s back injury during the 1st round of the playoff’s last year the Knicks didn’t have a chance. I believe if Amar’e had been fully healthy they would’ve played Miami in the 2nd round. The big question heading into this season, is how will Amar’e, Melo and Billups work together. Last season there was definitely some miscommunication on the court, but when these guys learn how to work together. Miami better watch their back.

6. D-Rose 2 Time MVP?

After D-Rose’s breakout season last year and the Bulls surprising success, I’m intrigued by what they will bring to the table this year. Lockdown defense is for sure. But can Derrick Rose match the stellar performance he gave last year.  He clearly has tricks up his sleeve, and if you haven’t seen his highlights from last season then prepare to be astounded….  

 The question is what will he surprise us with this season? A 50 point game? More killer crossovers? Unbelievable hops? D-Rose is unpredictable, but what we do know is that he will be eager to show everyone that last season’s success was no fluke. And that the Bulls and himself are here to stay among the elite.

 5. Lakers Redeem Themselves  

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Conference semi-finals to Dirk and the Mavs. Phil Jackson will try to forget his last series as a coach. He will try to forget Andrew Bynum throwing an elbow of frustration to J.J Barea. He will definitely try to forget being swept by Dallas. Now with a new coach, and a hungry Kobe, the Lakers can start on a clean slate. Everyone knows Kobe is angry and wants back on that throne. NBA fans everywhere, brace yourself for a Kobe overdrive.

4. Miami Back With a Vengeance  

Miami suffered at the hands of greatness last season when losing to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks in the finals. Everyone, including themselves called the season a failure. This summer Lebron, and D-Wade didn’t waste time sulking or lowering their heads. They’re focused on greatness and focused on championships so they’ve been hard at work preparing for this season….

 Now that Lebron, D-Wade, and Bosh have additional criticism and motivation from last season it will be interesting to see how they come back this season. I’m predicting full on domination.

  3. Blake Show is Back  

If you ask any fan what team was most exciting to watch last season I bet you more than half would say the Los Angeles Clippers. This young and talented squad showed true potential last year when the Blake Show came along. They even made the Lakers a little nervous about being the top team in Los Angeles. But, Blake Griffin and the rest of his crew are back with more experience and more flavour this year. I’m eager to see them in action and to see Blake throwing down monster jam’s this season.

 2. Dallas 2-Peat

 After winning a title last year, Dirk and the Mavericks must be careful about their throne. The Lakers will be back and ready to redeem themselves, Miami will have more firepower than ever, and every other team in the league wants a seat on top. Dallas are prime targets this season and the fact that Tyson Chandler hasn’t signed an extension should worry them more. They’re veteran roster must be ready for the new guys in town who will do anything to defeat them. I wonder if J-Kidd, Dirk and Jason Terry will have what it takes this year. It will be more than exciting to see them in the finals once again.

 1. CP3 and Superman

 The best center in the league and arguably the best point guard in the league are free agents next summer. CP3’s agent has released statements that he wants a bite out of the Big Apple and there is speculation the Dwight wants out. We know the Magic and Hornets will try to improve their rosters around their stars before it’s too late. We also know they will trade them to get the most out of them if their stars don’t agree to an extension. This will be the most exciting part of the season due to the impact that these players will make on any team. Imagine CP3, Melo and Amar’e in New York. They’d instantly be best in the East. Or if Dwight went to Los Angeles, the Lakers would instantly be best in the West. After the Melo-Drama and the free agent frenzy of 2010-2011 we have all grown to love stars teaming up. It will be exciting to follow the drama that surrounds these players all season.

Portland’s Draft Woes

As I said in an earlier post, KD is doing what took MJ 5 years. That’s leading the league in scoring as well as his team to a conference final. A similarity between these two players is that on draft night the Portland Trail Blazers had a chance to pick both of these players. They could have been the ones with the Jordan legacy, they could have been home to the best basketball player in the history of the NBA. Instead they took Sam Bowie. They could have been the ones with the leagues leading scorer, and youngest superstar but instead they have an injured center on their hands. While Kevin Durant is flourishing in Oklahoma, Greg Oden is rotting on the bench.

Sam Bowie was a high school and college sensation, he was 7’1, 235lbs. He was supposed to take the Blazers to a finals appearance. Instead he averaged a small 10 points and 8 rebounds in his rookie season, as supposed to 28 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 and a half steals per game. Sam Bowie went on to play only 63 games in his next 4 seasons. He was then traded to the Nets with a first round pick. In New Jersey he had his best seasons, averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds. Then he was traded to the Lakers, and after two injury riddled seasons he retired. Michael Jordan’s career we all know was much different. He led the league in scoring 10 different seasons. He led the Bulls to 6 NBA championships, he was finals MVP 6 times, he was the NBA MVP 5 times, he led the league in steals 3 times, he was a 14 time NBA all star, he was 3 time NBA all star MVP, and most of all he went to the hall of fame as the best player to ever play the game. I think it’s safe to say that Portland really messed up with that draft pick.

Then we have the 2007 draft. Portland had the number one pick, Seattle had the number 2 pick. It was down to the 7’0 center, Greg Oden and the 6’10 small forward Kevin Durant. Who would take who? KD and Greg both made 1st team all American in their freshman years in college. Greg Oden for Ohio State and Kevin Durant with Texas. When draft night came around the Trail Blazers took Greg Oden, leaving Seattle with Kevin Durant. This is where they went wrong. Greg Oden has played only 63 games in 3 seasons in the NBA. He has scored 540 points, recorded 424 rebounds and blocked 69 shots in his NBA career. Portland has been disappointed by his injuries but have faith that he can develop into an all-star once he gets back. We all know where Kevin Durant has gone with his career. He won the rookie of the year in his first season. Averaging 20 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Since then he has led the league in scoring two years in a row, while leading his team to the conference finals this year. I think it’s safe to say that Portland really messed up with that draft pick as well.

Phil Jackson said that nobody can be compared to Michael Jordan, but Kevin Durant and Michael are not that different.

The Lakers Need to Improve.

As the NBA conference finals begin, we have to still wonder about the leagues former champions. What does their future hold, is it a retiring Bryant, a traded Gasol, a completely different team? When a defending champion loses it’s a big deal around the league, and a big deal within the organization. When the defending champions are swept, well, that’s a huge problem and begs the question,what went wrong?

What went wrong? It’s really simple, people are over analyzing this too much. Pau Gasol just didn’t play. It’s almost as if he wasn’t there. Dirk Nowitzki ran all over him, he barely put up a fight. He missed easy shots every game, wasn’t aggresive enough on the boards or on defense and that dragged the Lakers down. When the man supposed to be giving the other team’s player a hard time doesn’t defend then there is going to be havoc. Their biggest strength is their duo of 7-footers on the front line, but in this series there was just one 7-footer in Andrew Bynum and one 7-footer playing like a scared child in Pau Gasol. Pau’s low production forced the other players on the team to carry his load, but trying to make up for 18 points and 10 rebounds is hard, and it was too hard for the Lakers. It wasn’t just Pau though, let’s not blame the whole Laker meltdown on one player. It was the effort. It was the hustle. The attitude. The defense, or lack there of. In game 4 of the series the Mavericks made 20, three pointers. How did they reach this milestone against such a tough defensive team? The perimeter defenders were lethargic, they didn’t rotate to the shooters, they didn’t even try to get a hand in the shooters face. Jason Terry did not have a hand in his face on any of his three pointers, the same with Peja.

This series is over though, the Lakers get to go on vacation early, and the Mavericks get to move on to the conference finals feeling proud and accomplished. Something has to change though. We already know Phil Jackson won’t be returning next season. Brian Shaw or Rick Adelman are the favorites to take over his position. Magic Johnson rumored that roster changes may have to be made if the Lakers want to be contenders next season. I agree, but what changes do they have to make? First off, they need a young, quick, athletic point guard. Derek Fisher is a veteran with lots of invaluable experience but he can’t keep up with the faster guards in the league like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, and Deron Williams. Steve Blake didn’t play up to expectations this season and although he has less years on his legs he still can’t compete with the faster guards. They won’t be getting any good draft picks any time soon so they better try to find a quick young point guard this summer. Then they have to wonder about Pau Gasol. He has proven to be a great competitor, an all-star, a top 10 power forward and most of all a champion, but he really let them down this postseason. Kobe only has 3-4 good years left in him and the Lakers may want to think about trading Gasol for an athletic, talented scorer to take the stage once Kobe is gone. Or maybe trade Gasol for another power forward, someone who is tougher and more dependable in big playoff series. As I mentioned before, Kobe only has 3-4 great years left in him so the Lakers may want to put a lot of their time into their younger players like Shannon Brown. He proved himself to be very productive off the bench, he is extremely athletic and he can definitely score the basketball. His game is still developing but I see a player who could do a solid job of filling in Kobe’s shoes. The last thing is that they need some gritty perimeter defenders. The Lakers, although they may play tough, are a pretty soft team. They need some tough perimeter defenders, players like Thabo Sefolosha or Tony Allen to keep the scorers under control.

After the Lakers disgraceful showing in the semi-finals, ways to improve are a must, if the Lakers want another ring.