Phil: Trade addresses chemistry
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said one of the reasons he wanted to ship Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks was to "change some of the chemistry" of his team.
"To do that we felt (it was) important to bring in some new personnel and start with some character guys that we feel can carry this forward," Jackson said on Thursday evening.
In Jackson's first major trade as president, he sent Felton and Chandler to Dallas for point guard Jose Calderon, guard Shane Larkin, center Samuel Dalembert, forward Wayne Ellington and two second-round selections in Thursday night's draft.
Watching them play I saw guys that looked at each other like, 'You didn't back me up, you weren't here when I needed help.' There just wasn't the right combination or feel (where) it felt like everybody was in synch all the time.” -- Knicks president Phil Jackson
Calderon is a strong outside shooter and is seen as a strong fit in the Knicks' triangle offense.
"Jose is a thoughtful guard. He's got great control of the ball. He pushes the ball up, accelerates it up the court," Jackson said. "He's a very good 3-point shooter. He organizes a team quite well and we anticipate he'll fit in to what we're trying to do."
Jackson sees Dalembert as a strong rebounder and interior defender.
"He can replace Tyson's defensive ability -- maybe not be the defensive player of the year like Tyson was, but he's going to be a quality defender," he said.
Jackson, who took over as team president in March, said he could see chemistry issues between Knicks players last season. The team finished with just 37 wins and missed the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
"Watching them play I saw guys that looked at each other like, 'You didn't back me up, you weren't here when I needed help,' " Jackson said. "There just wasn't the right combination or feel (where) it felt like everybody was in synch all the time."
Chandler drew headlines last season when he questioned coach Mike Woodson's defensive schemes. Felton, meanwhile, was charged with two felony gun counts and last week reached a plea bargain to avoid jail time. Jackson didn't reference Chandler or Felton specifically when he talked about chemistry issues but said he wanted Felton's legal issues to be resolved before agreeing to the deal with the Mavericks.
Jackson hoped that the rest of the Knicks' players were paying attention to the trade.
"Well, we want to send a message to all of our players that we are on the move and we are making changes and we are making changes to move forward in the direction that we want to go," Jackson said. "We want to be more aggressive defensively, we want to have a certain sense of offensive alacrity, getting up and down the court and challenging defenses to get back and protect the basket."
Jackson said he's fielded "a lot of calls" about a "couple" of Knicks players but declined to name who those players were. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that the Knicks had talked to teams about trading Iman Shumpert for a first-round pick earlier this week.
The Knicks' president was asked if he "consulted" with free agent Carmelo Anthony about the trade. He corrected the questioner to say that he "informed" Anthony about the deal.
"He saw the value in it and was appreciative of it," Jackson said. He later added, "We just felt that what we are doing appeals to (Carmelo) also and he realizes where he has been and how we want him back."
Jackson also addressed his decision to trade Chandler, who is entering the final year of his contract this coming season. In the transaction, the Knicks forfeited $5 million in cap space in the summer of 2015, when they hope to be able to attract big-name free agents.
"We didn't want to watch another player go off and not get anything in return, so to speak," Jackson said.