On the eve of the NBA Draft, the New York Knicks were on the outside looking in.
They traded away their respective picks when they acquired Andrea Bargnani, and that move didn’t pay off to the degree that was expected. The choice made the lost draft picks and Bargnani’s remaining contract a double blow to the team’s progress.
Yet, in one unexpected move, Knicks President Phil Jackson addressed a number of issues with the team’s decision to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas.
In the deal, Dallas reacquires Tyson Chandler and also gets point guard, Raymond Felton. The New York Knicks, in return, get José Calderon; Samuel Dalembert; prized young point guard, Shane Larkin; back up guard, Wayne Ellington and the 34th and 51st picks in Thursday’s draft.
Many people felt that Tyson, like many of the Knicks, had too large of a contract to move, but this proved that with the right suitor, any deal can happen.
The general consensus on the Knicks is that they gave up too much in the way of draft picks to assemble the team they have. This one trade alone not only addresses the team’s problems, but lays the groundwork for more to be done while awaiting the decisions of franchise player, Carmelo Anthony.
Calderon is one of the most efficient point guards in the league with a four to one assist to turnover ratio. He’ll be backed up by Larkin, who was a championship college player.
Dalembert is essentially a poor man’s Tyson Chandler at a much cheaper cost, but perhaps most important within this equation is that the Knicks are now active participants in what is a very deep 2014 draft. Acquiring these two picks at the bare minimum means younger players are on their way to Madison Square Garden.
Although it’s not hard to imagine more deals in the future, these two picks could easily become one pick even higher up in the draft. Today’s league is much more perimeter dominated than in previous years.
Defense and rebounding were the core elements of success for most of the NBA’s existence, and now the teams that can keep turnovers down and shoot the highest percentage from the deep end of the court win it all. New York, once known for bruising, physical interior play is making that same switch to a more jump-shooter-focused game.
Phil Jackson came to town to make serious changes. No one is untouchable in this transition period, so nothing should surprise us. Presently, Carmelo Anthony is preparing his personal tour of teams looking to sign him. He’ll be going to Chicago, Dallas, Miami and maybe more cities before he decides on a team.
In the mean time, New York is already an improved team from the one that missed the playoffs this past season. The question is, will there be enough improvements made to satisfy Melo’s desire to win?
Will the Knicks need to get another All Star to accomplish this? Are these changes being made with a worst-case scenario in mind that Melo most likely isn’t returning?
This may turn out to be one of the most active offseasons in recent NBA history. Clearly the Knicks have no plans on just watching from the sidelines.
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