With one day before the NBA draft, we kicked off what should be a dynamic off-season with our first blockbuster trade. The Mavericks have sent Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, and two second round picks to the New York Knicks for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.
Jose Calderon (32 years old, 15.6 PER, 60 TS% on 16 USG%, 22 AST%, 2,468 minutes)
On paper, Calderon is the offensive orchestrator that Knicks fans have long-sought, but the reality is Calderon played off the ball more than ever and ceded much of the ball-handling responsibility to Monta Ellis and even Vince Carter. With that said, this makes him a near-perfect fit for the triangle offense, and Phil Jackson may have made a very shrewd investment here. You can question Calderon's defense and athleticism, but his shooting touch at the PG spot is paralleled only by Stephen Curry (untouchable) and Steve Nash (8 years older at the same price). That stroke is exactly what Phil and newly minted Knicks coach Derek Fisher will want from the PG spot in the triangle offense. Calderon's defense will be a problem, but not one unique to 80% of the league's PGs. The Knicks added some long-term salary, eating 3.5M of their 2015 cap space, but this should prove to be a quality investment over the next two years.
Samuel Dalembert (32 years old, 16.8 PER, 61 TS% on 15 USG%, 19 REB%, 1,614 minutes)
2015: 3.86 (1.80 guaranteed) this is BEFORE his 15% trade kicker (likely affects the guaranteed money and consequently salary cap calculations)
I honestly don't see much of a reason for the Knicks to buy Dalembert out, as many are speculating. They just traded their only rim enforcer, and Dalembert replicates Chandler's skills at a fraction of the cost. He isn't overpaid, he's not Andrea Bargnani, and he has no impact on the Knicks' 2015 free agency plans. This should be an easy one.
Wayne Ellington (26 years old, 12.2 PER, 55 TS% on 16 USG%, 7 AST%, 393 minutes)
Ellington is the definition of a salary throw-in, as the Knicks have no shortage of SGs with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Tim Hardaway Jr. His inclusion makes it more likely that one of the aforementioned trio is traded in the near future. Hardaway has the most trade value of the three, and Ellington duplicates his skill-set, so my bets are on him.
Shane Larkin (21 years old, 8.3 PER, 45 TS% on 17 USG%, 20 AST%, 489 minutes)
2016: 1.67 (Team Option, likely exercised in 2014 pre-season)
2017: 2.57 (Team Option)
Larkin has some upside as a speedy backup PG, in the mold of J.J. Barea and Patrick Mills. However he will need great improvement across the board in order to reach those levels. Expect another year as a 3rd string when it's all said and done.
34th pick of 2014 draft (current Draft Express projection: Glenn Robinson III)
51st pick of 2014 draft (current Draft Express projection: Cristiano Felicio)
It's probably reasonable to expect one college player and one stashable European by the Knicks, pending any further trades. Given that the Knicks had no draft picks entering tomorrow's draft, this is certainly a win for a team that typically trades away picks rather than receive them.
Current Knicks Depth Chart
PG: Jose Calderon, Pablo Prigioni, Shane Larkin, Toure Murry (FA)
SG: Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway, Wayne Ellington, Shannon Brown (NGC)
SF: Carmelo Anthony (FA), J.R. Smith
PF: Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Kenyon Martin (FA), Lamar Odom (NGC)
C: Samuel Dalembert, Cole Aldrich (FA), Jeremy Tyler
Tyson Chandler (31 years old, 16.4 PER, 62 TS% on 13 USG%, 19 REB%, 1,662 minutes)
The Mavericks ultimately win this trade by reacquiring the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year who helped carry the team to an NBA championship (and may have cost them a few by leaving). Chandler's ability to finish at the rim, defend, and crash the boards are a perfect compliment to Dirk Nowitzki. Is he overpaid at this point? Yes. Is he more cost effective than a Dalembert/Wright platoon? No. It's a monetary sacrifice that has to be made in order to get Calderon's long-term contract off the books (a player who was easily the weak link on a team that took the NBA champion Spurs to 7 games). Whether or not Chandler returns to DPOY form, the Mavericks will be much improved defensively by subtracting Calderon.
Raymond Felton (29 years old, 12.9 PER, 48 TS% on 18 USG%, 28 AST%, 2,017 minutes)
2016: 3.95 (Player Option, likely exercised)
Felton had worn out his welcome in New York, and a change of scenery should be good for him. It's very likely that he'll be backing up Devin Harris (whose re-emergence made Calderon expendable) next season, but is capable of starting for the oft-injured player in a pinch. If he can develop any sort of chemistry with Dirk Nowitzki in the pick & roll, this could very well be a very salvageable piece for the Mavericks.
Current Mavericks Depth Chart
PG: Devin Harris (FA), Raymond Felton, Gal Mekel
SG: Monta Ellis, Ricky Ledo
SF: Shawn Marion (FA), Vince Carter (FA), Jae Crowder
PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion (FA)
C: Tyson Chandler, Brandan Wright, DeJuan Blair (FA), Bernard James