After a crazy couple days of wheeling and dealing, the dust is starting to settle on some of the big NBA moves. This is especially true for the Knicks, who completed a series of small moves and officially welcomed center Tyson Chandler to the team with a four-year deal reportedly worth $58 million. "He brings everything that we didn't have...We got a lot better, real quick," said coach Mike D'Antoni.
"Signing a player of Tyson's caliber, with championship experience, to this roster, is an opportunity we could not pass up," said acting general manager Glen Grunwald. Chandler averaged 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 74 games for the champion Dallas Mavericks last season. Chandler also finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. "It's something we talked about doing when I first signed here...looking to build a championship-caliber team. And with the guys we have, we feel like we are on the right track," said Amare Stoudemire about the signing.
It took a lot of maneuvering to get Chandler here though: to free space, the Knicks had to trade center Ronny Turiaf, cash considerations and a 2013 second-round pick to Washington. They also dealt second-year guard Andy Rautins to the Dallas Mavericks; Dallas sent a second-round 2012 draft choice to Washington and the draft rights to Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis to New York. And most importantly, they had to waive guard Chauncey Billups using the new amnesty clause to make room for Chandlers contract.
Billups was upset, but understood the Knicks financially had to let him go: "I wouldn't be surprised if Chauncey retired rather than play for a team he wouldn't want to play for," Andy Miller, agent for the 35-year-old point guard, told ESPN. The Knicks are now looking to pick up someone to replace Billups, and are currently targeting former Miami Heat guard Mike Bibby.
One thing's for sure: the Knicks probably shouldn't wait around for Chris Paul. On Thursday, the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets all agreed on a multi-player trade which would have sent Paul to the Lakers—but the trade was opposed by owners and ultimately blocked by NBA Commissioner David Stern in a move that was highly criticized. Now, the teams have tweaked the trade further in New Orleans favor, and resubmitted it to the league for approval, so Paul may be a Laker before the weekend is through.