The scenario that we all loved to think about happened. Tyson Chandler is a Dallas Maverick once more.
On Wednesday, the Mavs pulled off the first blockbuster deal of the offseason by shipping off Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert and two second round picks to the New York Knicks. In return the Mavericks received Chandler and Raymond Felton. On paper, it looks like the Mavs gave up way too much to get back the best center in their franchise history, but it was a deal worth making.
Trading for Chandler has been rumored since the Mavs’ season ended at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. It’s not a shock that Calderon had to be the center of the Mavs package. For the salaries to work and match up, that was expected. Chandler is obviously an upgrade over Dalembert and the Mavs seldom used Ellington, though I will miss being able to tweet #MakeItWayne. As far as trading the second round picks go, I don’t have too much of a problem with it. The Mavs haven’t exactly done well with late first round or second round picks and usually they are off the roster in a matter of two years. As currently constituted, the Mavs aren’t trying to develop players. It’s about being aggressive and winning now. It would have been nice for the Mavs to be able to keep Larkin, but this is what needs to be done if a move like this is to get done.
Chandler isn’t the same player he was in 2011. He’s three years older and battled injuries last year with New York, but was still effective in the time he did play. Plus, Chandler seemed clearly upset at the situation the Knicks were in. That team was a mess and was never going anywhere. He will surely be rejuvenated to return to the team he never wanted to leave in the first place and play alongside Dirk Nowitzki again.
Chandler had the reputation as an injury prone center the last time he was traded to Dallas in the summer of 2010, but the Mavs medical staff did wonders for him. Getting the Mavs medical staff back with Chandler and massaging his minutes should help him get through whatever injury issues he may have had. The one thing that no one seems to be talking about is that the Mavs are once again getting Chandler on an expiring contract. If it turns out that he breaks down this season, they don’t have to re-sign him, and if they want to re-sign him it will be easier than last time since he’s an older player now. Either way, the Mavs get to keep their flexibility.
The Mavs obviously upgraded the center position with reacquiring Chandler, but it came at a cost. Felton is a clearly a step down over Calderon at the point guard and the Mavs will surely miss the three-point shooting of Calderon and his ability to spread the floor. This makes re-signing Devin Harris and Vince Carter big priorities and both of those guys will likely be back in Dallas next year. Felton isn’t a starting point guard by any stretch of the imagination and has dealt with weight and off-the-court issues. But, if there’s anyone who can help get his head on straight and at least turn him into a serviceable back up, it’s Rick Carlisle.
But keep in mind, this is just step one in the Mavs’ offseason plan. The next step is to quickly re-sign Dirk, which both sides are saying will get done quickly. After that, the Mavs will hope to attract some big name free agents with the core of Dirk, Chandler and Monta Ellis. Carmelo Anthony has already put out that he will be meeting with the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and the Mavs. The Bulls and Rockets are probably still ahead of the Mavs to land Melo, but Chandler certainly makes them more attractive. Keep in mind that Melo and Chandler are supposedly very close from their time in New York. It’s still a dream scenario, but it is more likely than it was at the beginning of the week.
Even if Anthony doesn’t come here, the Mavs have a nice core in place to try and attract players to fill their remaining needs. Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza are options at small forward and I think one of them will end up in Dallas if they miss on Melo. I don’t think the Mavs will willingly go into this season with Felton and Harris as their point guard duo, so Kyle Lowry is someone that Mavs should take a hard look at for point guard to replace Calderon as the starter.
It’s strange to see a trade of this magnitude go down at this time. But if this is any indication as to what the Mavs are going to do this offseason, then we are in for a wild next two weeks.