Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Tyson Transaction

Again, holy crap. I don't think even the Knicks' front office could have expected this much out of free agency this year. It's still not a done deal, but Alan Hahn tweeted this:
Multiple sources tell Newsday that Tyson Chandler will be a Knick. Billups and Turiaf involved to clear cap space.
As reported earlier, it's going around that the deal is 4 years, $58 million. This is an extremely beneficial move for the Knicks, but it has some future implications.

(Keep in mind, this deal is not done, and it is not definite. I don't want to get too ahead and act like it's already official.)


First off, let's go over what this would give the Knicks.

As far as Tyson Chandler goes, he's coming off a fantastic season with the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 10.1 ppg, 65.4 FG%, 9.4 rpg, and 1.1 bpg. However, his value goes beyond stats. Many of the Mavs' players credited Tyson for keeping a great atmosphere in the locker room, and he was also credited for being a staple of their defense. He's a great communicator, a presence in the paint, and a disciplined defender; he rarely makes stupid mistakes.

Jason Terry was even recently quoted as saying: "Without Tyson on this team last year, I just don't know if we'd win the championship,"....

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
This now would give the Knicks a true, 7-foot center to take the burden off of Amar'e down low. Also, the Knicks were 20th in the league in rebounding, and Tyson would definitely help the team in that aspect. His presence will allow Amar'e to be aggressive. Too often last year, Amar'e would pick up fouls on defense and his game and the team would suffer as a result.

However, there are some potential downsides to this.

Tyson Chandler is coming off of what many considered a career year. Prior, he had only had one statistically better season with the Hornets in 2007-08. Likewise, he's been injury prone throughout his career. He's never played all 82 games, and over the past three seasons he's played a total of 170 games of a possible 246. This means, in the past 3 years alone, he's missed nearly a whole season's worth of time - 76 games.

He appeared healthy over the course of last season, and given the number of serious suitors after him this offseason, I'm guessing it's not too much of a concern. So let's go to the next issue: money.

The supposed contract that the Knicks are giving Tyson equals $14.5 million per year. It's roughly equal to what Chauncey Billups is/was set to make this season, except that it won't expire until the 2015-16 season, if I'm not mistaken. Meaning, between Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Chandler, the Knicks will have roughly $54-55 million tied up to 3 players.

I'm not a genius on these matters, but unless the salary cap goes up in the future, the Knicks' only spending money will be the veteran's minimum and mid-level exception (MLE). They'll still have to field a team of at least 9 other players in the future, so there will essentially be no cap space.

Also, what do the Knicks do about point guard? As mentioned before, they'd either use the amnesty clause on Billups' salary, or trade him. However, to have enough room, they'd have to get rid of Turiaf too. Do the Knicks run a PG lineup of Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert? Jamaal Tinsley's name has been linked to the Knicks. Do they sign him? Do they trade Turiaf for another low-level PG?

Lastly, how does Chris Paul play into this whole situation?

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Rumors were that any place Tyson landed, made it a more attractive destination for CP3. The two were a great duo in New Orleans Hornets, and are still good friends. So is this the Knicks' way of coaxing Chris Paul to New York? Well, if people said the Knicks didn't have the assets to trade for Paul before (potentially) landing Tyson Chandler, they don't have ANY now.

It's been thrown around that Stoudemire or Anthony would hit the trade market in exchange for Chris Paul. I find this ludicrous for a number of reasons though. For one, trading either of those two for Paul would be a lateral move. Point guard is the easiest position to fill in the NBA these days, and you'd lose an elite scorer either way.

Likewise, the league owns the Hornets, which means they likely won't want to take Amar'e Stoudemire's remaining uninsured $80 million contract. If he were to get injured, the league would have traded Paul for practically nothing, and then have to pay a huge sum of money.

To me, the whole point of trading for Chandler is to give Stoudemire help down low. Is it possible that one of them gets traded - most likely Amar'e? Yes. You never know what the Knicks front office is scheming. But to me, it's very unlikely.

We'll have to wait and see what develops over the coming days. Things are about to get very interesting for the New York Knicks.

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