No, ladies and gentlemen, you are not dreaming. The New York Knickerbockers have actually made a smart and beneficial trade for their organization.
Earlier today, the Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks agreed on a 6-person trade that will send Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to Dallas, and give the Knicks four very useful pieces as well as two second-round picks in this year’s draft.
The Mavs have been trying to bring Chandler back ever since he helped them win the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. The timing was perfect for them, as Phil Jackson the Knicks were looking to clear cap space, and were unsuccessful in convincing Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, two players who take up a lot of cap room, to opt out of their contracts. The Zen Master was also looking to get rid of Felton, whose off-court troubles and lackluster on-court performances last season proved that he had overstayed his welcome in New York.
In this trade, the Knicks picked up two solid starters: Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert. These two can immediately fill the spots of Felton and Chandler: Calderon is an impressive and experienced point guard who had a great 2013-14 campaign, and Dalembert is a big center with defensive presence.
New York also picked up two solid bench players from the trade. Wayne Ellington, a young 6’4” shooting guard, is a solid three-point shooter who can mix with the likes of Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith very nicely. They also acquired Shane Larkin, a 21 year old point guard out of the University of Miami. The son of Hall of Fame baseball player Barry Larkin had an unimpressive rookie season, but he has a lot of potential and could benefit greatly from working with the Knicks’ new coach, Derek Fisher.
Just hours after the trade, however, rumors surfaced that the Knicks were looking to deal Dalembert and Larkin. This would clear up even more cap room for the Knicks, and could have some added bonuses. Dalembert and Larkin are valuable pieces in a trade, as Dalembert is a solid center and Larkin is a young point guard with a high ceiling. The Knicks could package the two with another cap space eater like Bargnani to alleviate more cap room. More realistically, however, they are probably shopping for a first round pick in this year’s draft, as they’ve been scouting Patric Young of Florida and PJ Hairston, a D-League player out of UNC.
This trade freed up more money for the Knicks: money that could be used to re-sign free agent superstar forward Carmelo Anthony, who recently opted out of his previous contract with the Knicks. LeBron James also became a free agent recently when he opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat, and has expressed interest in playing in New York–though it is unlikely to happen this season.
What the free cap room can do, however, is give the Knicks more room to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets in case Anthony decides to leave. This deal could involve the Knicks signing Melo and trading him to the Rockets for their superstar guard James Harden.
The Rockets are interested in acquiring Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James as a duo, and have traded center Omir Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans for a future first round pick to free even more cap room for this. A sign-and-trade deal would give them Anthony and leave a lot of money to work out a big contract for James. The Knicks would in return get an elite scorer who is five years younger than Melo, and whose profile fits those who have found success with Phil Jackson in the past: a big offensively inclined shooting guard.
Overall, this trade means only good things for the Knicks. If they decide to keep the four pieces, they have solid players to play around Carmelo Anthony or whoever replaces him. The new cap room gives the Knicks a lot of room to move pieces and make more trades at their leisure. Phil Jackson and the Knicks have taken a step in the right direction, and the Zen Era has the future finally looking bright for a team who has spent the past few decades in turmoil.