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Numbers Game: Chandler returns to Dallas

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Scott Cullen
6/26/2014 11:28:21 AM
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The Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks hooked up for a deal involving six players and a couple of draft picks.

Numbers Game breaks down the deal sending Tyson Chandler back to Dallas.

The Mavericks Get: C Tyson Chandler and PG Raymond Felton.

Chandler, 31, returns to Dallas, where he was a critical part of their 2011 NBA Championship squad, and gives the Mavericks a more formidable presence in the paint. Chandler is not particularly durable, having missed 65 games over three seasons in New York and there are signs that his game is declining -- his .593 field goal percentage and 16.48 Player Efficiency Rating last season were his lowest since 2009-2010 and his estimated points allowed per possession was his highest since 2008-2009.

Those statistical declines could be a reflection of Chandler's unimpressive supporting cast in New York, or it could be an indication of a 31-year-old centre who missed 20 games with a broken leg last season, but Chandler had more productive years in the previous two seasons with the Knicks. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-2012 and made the All-Defensive First Team in 2012-2013.

The Mavericks need Chandler to stay healthy -- the only time in the past six years that he played more than 67 games in a season was his season in Dallas (2010-2011) -- and provide the same sound defensive presence for which he's been known, at least prior to 2013-2014.

Chandler is entering the final year of his contract and it pays him nearly $14.6-million. That's pretty good motivation to have a strong year, either to get an extension from the Mavs or hit the open market next summer.

Felton is a 29-year-old point guard who has had ups and downs in his career, and is currently at a low point, having scored a career-low 9.7 points per game while shooting 39.5% from the field, his lowest since 2006-2007, last season. His 12.90 PER last season was the worst of his nine-year NBA career. Earlier in his career, Felton was a durable player, but he's missed 53 games over the past three seasons. Questionable conditioning has likely contributed to his increasing rate of injuries.

On top of his poor performance on the court, Felton recently reached an agreement to a plea deal on a gun possession charge, so it's probably best for him to get a fresh start somewhere else.

Felton's not a strong defender, lacking the lateral quickness to handle other point guards, but if he gets in shape, he can be a contributor. As it stands now, the Mavericks are looking at a backcourt that includes veteran Monta Ellis and 2013 second-round pick Ricky Ledo. There are surely more moves to make, but there are minutes available, if Felton is up to the challenge.

This season, Felton will earn $4.36-million on his contract, then has a player option for $4.54-million the following season; not unreasonable money if he bounces back from his down season.

 

The Knicks Get: PG Jose Calderon, C Samuel Dalembert, PG Shane Larkin, SG Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks.

Calderon, 32, didn't have a great season in Dallas. He struggled defensively, which is pretty standard, but his shooting wasn't as effective as it had been in previous years and Calderon couldn't get to the basket, earning less than one free-throw attempt per game. While Calderon did shoot a career-best 44.9% from beyond the arc, he shot 45.6% from the floor and attempted more threes (425) than twos (323) for the first time in his career. That may be a function of his role in the Mavericks' offence, but it also is a reflection that Calderon wasn't getting any shots near the rim.

Signed for three more years, at around $22.2-million, Calderon is a decent point guard option for the Knicks -- it's not like replacing Felton is an impossible task -- but his defence is already poor and is only going to get worse as he approaches his mid-30s. If his offence is reverting to spot-up threes only, well, that's going to limit Calderon's value.

Since they didn't have many options, 33-year-old Dalembert started 68 games for the Mavericks last season. He's an effective rebounder and shot blocker, who has had an above-average PER in four of the past five seasons. He has limited touches offensively, but shot a career-best 56.8% from the field last season and grabbed 6.8 rebounds with 1.2 blockes per game, while playing a little over 20 minutes a night.

For all those attributes, which at least suggest that he can be useful in a reserve role, Dalembert could still be looking for a new team next season. The Knicks hold a team option, at under $3.9-million, for next season. Given what they have currently, the Knicks would have room to fit Dalembert in their rotation, but free agent options could be more appealing.

The 18th pick in last year's draft, 21-year-old Shane Larkin didn't play a lot as a rookie, averaging a little over 10 minutes per game in the 48 games that he played. He's on the small side, at 5-foot-11, but has quickness and at least in college, at the University of Miami, he could shoot a bit (40.6% on threes as a sophomore). Will he be able to defend enough to play a big role in the NBA?

While Larkin may not provide immediate value, he can continue to develop behind Calderon, ideally taking over as the starter at some point in the next couple seasons.

26-year-old Wayne Ellington has bounced around a bit since he was a late first-round pick by Minnesota in 2009. The Knicks will be Ellington's fourth franchise in the past two years, and he scored a career-low 3.2 points per game as a spare part for the Mavericks last season.

Ellington can shoot, 38.6% on threes for his career, but doesn't do enough otherwise to hold down a spot in the rotation. He is going into the final year of a contract that will pay him $2.5-million this season.

The Knicks also get picks 34 and 51 in Thursday's draft. Over the past five years, picks in the 30-35 range have yielded an NBA rotation player 20.0% of the time, while picks from 50-60 have resulted in an NBA have provided an NBA rotation player 8.0% of the time.

It's easy to see the appeal to this deal for the Mavericks, as Chandler gives them an immediate upgrade, without a long-term commitment. They have some backcourt issues to sort out but, after pushing San Antonio to seven games in the first round of the playoffs, there is some justification to believe that they can get into the title mix next season.

For the Knicks, they could have a better point guard situation, both immediately and long-term and the hope is that Larkin can ultimately provide value. If not, there won't be much to gain.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Tyson Chandler (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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