When the news broke roughly 120 hours ago that the Mavericks were indeed doing as I had thought they would — bring back the heart and soul of their 2011 Championship Squad Tyson Chandler — I was on the road delivering a fresh, hot Domino’s pizza to somewhere that I can’t remember. I might have gotten a great tip. I might have even got stiffed. What I do remember is pulling over right as I saw the text from Marc Stein(‘s Twitter page) that the deal I envisioned had indeed come to fruition…and doing this.
I’m at work but AGHJHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHSSTHJKFDFUTDFHIUKOJGDDGHHJJJJ. WELCOME HOME @tysonchandler
— Ace Feltman (@MFFeLtman) June 25, 2014
Then making a few calls, sending a few texts and finally saying, “Okay Dad, I really should get this pizza to the customer before the trade can become officially NBA official in a matter of hours. Even for me that’s too long to take a pizza. So I got home late that night and collected my thoughts, breath and some photos in another MFeLtman tweet.
Initial reaction on Twitter was surprisingly mixed, and mostly due to the inclusion of impressive rookie point guard Shane Larkin.Impressive by Mavericks rookie standards, actually somewhat overwhelming as a Mavs first year player.
But like Major League Baseball teams are way too attached to their young prospects NBA teams get immediately attached to players they draft. A very recent example is the Cleveland Cavaliers undoubtedly shopping the top overall pick in last week’s draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for picks 3 and 10 or something along those blurred lines. Once Dan Gilbert, Chris Grant and the rest of the jumbled Cavs brass saw the big tooth grin Andrew Wiggins showed after being selected they probably put emotion before anything else and decided to take on the budding Canadian star.
An example close to home but farther back is the Indiana Pacers ready to offer the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft to the Dallas Mavericks for sophomore hot shot point guard Rodrigue Beaubois but Roddy B was “untouchable.”
So about Larkin. Yes, we were all impressed. The most impressive Mavericks rookie since Jae Crowder was half impressive in 2012. We’re just not used to rookies doing much of anything for Dallas basketball — better yet being a rotational player — but Larkin was a spark off the bench.
Unfortunately though, no matter how promising some moments were and no matter how much the ladies love “Sugar Shane,” he was drafted last season for the very purpose of being traded. The second round pick acquired from the Celtics in the 2013 NBA Draft trade down with Atlanta and Boston was obtained for the same purpose.
As it were they were both in the same deal, along with starters (but not finishers) Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert, the 51st overall pick in the draft as well as 34. Oh, and Wayne Ellington‘s salary and whatever he can offer if anything…ever…whatever.
We will miss some of Sammy D’s moments, but he was a micro-Tyson. A homeless man’s Tyson. 1/100th of what Tyson does, if anything a smidge better offensively. A smidge.
Jose Calderon had an excellent offensive season and was awesome in the thrilling first round seven game series against the Champion Spurs. But his historically bad defensive ‘presence’ was a huge issue and his very, very effective 3-point jump shot couldn’t find its way on the court in close 4th quarters because of his gargantuan struggles on defense.
The 51st pick, well, the last time Los Mavs selected 51st they took Vanderbilt shooting guard Shan Foster, who has never appeared in an NBA game. Goran Dragic was picked 45th, the draft effectively ending talent-wise with that Spurs selection.
Dallas also acquired very, very, very out of favor point guard Raymond Felton. Felton, the 5th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by Charlotte (Chris Paul and Deron Williams preceded him) has started all of the Knicks games he’s played in the last two years in a true tale of two seasons.
In 2012-2013 he formed a great alley oop combo with Tyson Chandler and a great here’s-the-ball-so-you-can-shoot-it with J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony. In 2013-2014 he, like most of his Knicks teammates excluding Chandler, Anthony and Jeremy Tyler played lazy, uninspired basketball for Mike Woodson‘s disastrous club.
Felton averaged 9.7 points, falling short of a double digit average for the first time in his nine year career. He’ll look to find some of that consistent play and efficiency he’s put on display in most of his nine seasons. He’ll most likely back up Devin Harris (or Kyle Lowry?!?!?!) at point guard for the 2014-2015 edition of Dallas Mavs ball.
My reaction (below) now is the same as when it happened and the same as it will be unless Tyson gets Space Jam’d by those alien dudes.
Tyson Chandler is not just back in Dallas. He’s back home.
And I couldn’t be happier. Sure, he only spent a mere season here after being acquired from the Charlotte then-Bobcats for Erick Dampier‘s bank account but it was the most fun, passionate and of course obviously the longest season in the history of the Dallas Mavericks.
We were frikkin’ Champions. And I think we can do it again, I really do.
The Mavericks did give up a good amount, but nothing irreplaceable by any means, and the deal only bit into a small chunk of their cap room which will remain at about $15-17 million after Dirk Nowitzki re-signs. Where that will be spent remains to be seen and remains to be written on and speculated on, but the main hole is small forward, then point guard and then to see what happens with the bench.
For the first time in several offseasons, there’s not just optimistic hope of a roster stitched together but real hope to make a run back to the top of the NBA mountain like we did 1,113 days ago.
While Ray Felt costs the Mavs $3.8 this year and potentially the same in the following season due to an unfriendly player option, Tyson Chandler is in the final season of a contract us fans are quite familiar with.
Why, it’s the one we didn’t give him!
There’s no lesson here, though. Many say the reacquisition of the stud center is Mark Cuban making up for letting Tyson walk in free agency three summers ago. That’s absolutely not the case. While tearing the whole 2011 squad down has proven to be…a headache that we didn’t expect and multiple whiffs in free agency, Tyson’s contract restricted the Knicks in the same way it would have done to the Mavericks the past three seasons. The center’s numbers are down and sporadic and streaky, but that was very much the culture of New York Knicks basketball during his tenure and the many years before.
In his time there the Knicks did notch their first postseason win since 2001 and in very large part to the 7’1″-235 rim protector and defensive enforcer and leader and energetic, enthusiastic teammate. In this trade the ramifications of Tyson’s $14.5 base salary were shown with the Mavericks inclusion of multiple picks and players to receive the best player in the deal and also taking back a contract in Felton that was very high on new Knicks President Phil Jackson‘s long laundry list of things that need to go.
With that said, just like in 2011 where Tyson Chandler was absolutely magnificent, he’s once again in a contract year. A concern for our new-old center is injuries. He missed 27 games last year with back problems…and hopefully just a general “WTF is this mess” precaution of basketball wisdom. Surely enough, injuries were a concern for Chandler upon arriving to Dallas for the first time in July 2010.
A few weeks ago Mavericks I informed a handful of my prediction of the Tyson Chandler acquisition. Some of those were the staff here at TheSmokingCuban.com, my parents at dinner and also my neighbor Chase and his friend Justin (who happens to be the son of Mavericks and United States Olympic trainer Casey Smith…which was AWESOME!!).
I also informed them of my already existing predicted return of a fellow key member of the magical 2011 Dallas Mavericks NBA Champion squad, J.J. Barea. The Felton player and salary inclusion muddies up that prediction a bit, but never, ever, ever count on Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and company to get something done that they see fits the team’s best interests.
The off-season is just getting started. The Draft, albeit without Mavs participation was very exciting (and Dante Exum fell to the Jazz at 5!) and Free Agency opens tomorrow. Also Jason Kidd was traded again, this time as a Head Coach, because he’s the gosh dang Jason Kidd-Man.
But first, foremost and from the bottom of my heart, Welcome home Tyson.