It’s been close to four months since the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks kicked off the offseason with their blockbuster trade. The Dallas Mavericks brought back 2011 championship anchor and fan favorite Tyson Chandler; Raymond Felton would also come to Big-D in the trade.
Jose Calderon and his sweet shooting and off the charts IQ would move to New York. Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, and Wayne Ellington (no longer with Knicks) were also shipped out of Dallas in the trade.
Chris Herring, covers the Knicks for the Wall Street Journal, took some time out of his day to share his thoughts on the pieces in the trade and evaluate their roles, impact, and play throughout the preseason.
Editor’s Note: Chris Herring is in his third season covering the Knicks full-time, home and away, for the WSJ. He never knows who is familiar with his work, but for the most part, he does his best to consistently tell stories through numbers, analytics and film. You can and should follow him on Twitter – @HerringWSJ
I don’t know that either team is going to come out of the trade looking like a clear-cut winner, but both walked away from it getting something they really wanted/needed.
The Mavs had seemed to want Tyson back all along, once it became clear they weren’t going to get the big-name free agent that they let Tyson walk for. So they get back a player who’s not all that far removed from being an elite defensive center (IMHO, he has the potential to be that still, and was kind of scapegoated in NY’s terrible defensive scheme last year). If nothing else, he probably improves morale in that locker room because of his vocal nature and his pedigree. It certainly makes Dirk happy, as well as Carlisle.
On the flip side, the Knicks got a real point guard — and one that can shoot his ass off — which will be critical in the triangle offense. Felton would not have been a great fit for this system, and based on everything that happened over the past two years with him (injuries, inconsistency, terrible defense and legal issues), the Knicks knew they had to turn the page. By getting a historically impressive shooter at that position, it gives Carmelo an additional person to trust giving the ball up to, outside of J.R. Smith.
Dating dating back to last year, I’ve said that while Felton isn’t that good, he could be a really solid backup point guard, playing against weaker second lines. We never got to see that last year, since Mike Woodson inexplicably guaranteed him a spot in the NYK’s starting five before the season began. He’s simply not good enough to do that, particularly when backup Pablo Prigioni appeared to do a better job of 1) organizing the offense/setting up the pick & roll 2) injecting a sense of ball movement into the otherwise stagnant team 3) spot-up shooting. Still, if he can get and stay healthy, he might be a far more productive player in Dallas than he was in NY.
The Knicks appear to be set on starting Dalembert, who doesn’t move all that well, but is big/long enough to make up for his mistakes by making blocks. Some fans will like that more, even though Tyson is probably a better defender by being able to prevent such shots from happening in the first place. (Just watching his preseason play, I think Chandler is 100 times better than Dalembert in terms of mobility; particularly when guarding stretch fours and fives). Samuel doesn’t fit the Knicks’ offense all that well, although Chandler — as someone who thrives off the pick and roll/couldn’t pass all that well — wouldn’t have been a great option there, either. There’s no doubt the Knicks will be in the market for a big come next summer.
Larkin is the wildcard here. Just watching him, you can tell there’s a long way to go to make him a consistently productive NBA player. The real question for NYK is whether he’s playable as a No. 2 PG. The Knicks have Prigioni, who, for as slow as he’d run the Knicks offense at age 37, takes care of the ball and limits mistakes. Thats kind of the polar opposite of Larkin, who is almost too fast for his own good and commits a lot of TOs. He’s painfully unselfish with the ball, to the point where it looks like it could hurt the offense. While they’re all still learning the triangle, the team has a clear tendency to abandon the rules of the offense when Shane is playing, perhaps a sign that he isn’t running it well enough for it to work. New York would be fortunate to get good play out of Larkin this season.