ESPN is reporting the Knicks are about to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Sam Dalembert, Shane Larkin (son of Barry), Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, and two second round picks in the upcoming draft. This seems like a pretty good move to me.
Sure, the Knicks are giving up the best player in Chandler, but what is Chandler at this point? He seems to be a guy who struggles to stay on the court and he isn’t getting better. Felton is an enigma and it is probably best to get him to a more gun-friendly local than New York City.
Now Dalembert is not going to replace Chandler, but he is serviceable. Clalderon is a decent, if overpaid, player and Ellington can knock down a 3. The intriguing part of this deal to me is Larkin. Larkin is clearly small, but he is an amazing athlete. If you watched any ACC basketball in 2013, you saw him everywhere while he led Miami to one of the most surprising seasons in recent years. I’m not saying he is a superstar, but he could be a very nice player for the Knicks down the line. Throw in a couple of second rounders and I think the Knicks made a good trade.
But here’s the thing, this clearly doesn’t make them better in 2014-15 and if Carmelo wants to win a title soon, you have to wonder if this is a message to him? If you want to win a title, why would you join this Knicks team? They just traded their second or third best player. Maybe that’s the plan. Maybe the Knicks are sending a message to Carmelo to go elsewhere, hopefully in a sign and trade, and that they are going to take their lumps this upcoming season. But, they will emerge from 2014-15 with a lottery pick and plenty of cap room. That sounds ok to me.