Friday, December 9, 2011
Chandler 'brings everything we didn't have'
By Ian Begley
It didn't take long for Mike D'Antoni to put the Tyson Chandler acquisition in perspective.
"He brings everything that we didn't have," D'Antoni said. ".... We got a lot better, real quick."
No, Chandler wasn't in the building on Friday for the first day of Knicks training camp.
But he was the No. 1 topic of conversation.
Chandler confirmed on Friday that he will sign a deal with the Knicks. His contract is reported by the New York Times to be in the range of four years for $58 million.
The Knicks still need to create cap space to complete the transaction.
To do so, they are attempting to move Chauncey Billups and Ronny Turiaf. Billups will likely be let go by the Knicks under the new amnesty clause.
Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that the team is offering Turiaf and $3 million to teams with cap space to clear payroll.
Carmelo Anthony called the transaction an "unfortunate situation" for the 35-year-old Billups, who is currently under contract for $14.2 million.
After paying respects to his longtime teammate, Anthony said, "We got what everybody wanted New York to get, which was a big man.... A guy like Tyson really just makes us that much stronger."
Interior defense is the Knicks' most glaring weakness going into Year 2 of the Anthony Era.
Consider: The Knicks ranked 20th in rebounding and 26th in opponent field goal percentage last year. They allowed an average of 45.4 points in the paint, the fifth-highest total in the league, and were outrebounded by 3.5 boards per game.
The 7-foot-1 Chandler should change all that.
He served as the defensive backbone for the NBA champion Mavericks last season, averaging 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 74 games. Chandler also finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
"We were looking for a center and Tyson Chandler's a perfect fit for us," Amare Stoudemire said. "It's something we talked about doing when I first signed here ... looking to build a championship-caliber team. And with the guys we have, we feel like we are on the right track."
Of course, Chandler wasn't Plan A for the Knicks. That title belonged to Chris Paul.
But when it became increasingly clear that they didn't have the pieces to swing a deal for Paul, the organization made a push for Chandler.
Unless they trade Anthony or Stoudemire, the Knicks are likely out of the running for Paul and other potential 2012 free agents such as Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.
But D'Antoni is OK with that.
"You're getting a great player that is a need.... There would be no reason to bypass this to chase a dream. This is a dream," the coach said.