Knicks get Chandler in 3-team deal
But his top priority is a simple one.
"To get everybody playing defense," Chandler said at his introductory news conference on Saturday.
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That's exactly why the Knicks went after him.
New York acquired Chandler via a sign-and-trade as part of a three-team deal. They completed the transaction on Saturday.
Chandler gets a four-year contract worth about $56 million.
The Knicks sent veteran center Ronny Turiaf, cash considerations and a 2013 second-round pick to Washington. They also dealt second-year guard Andy Rautins to the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas sent a second-round 2012 draft choice to Washington and the draft rights to Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis to New York. Washington also sent a future second round draft choice to Dallas.
In addition, to create enough cap space to sign Chandler, the Knicks waived veteran guard Chauncey Billups, designating him as the club's amnesty player. Billups and his $14.2 million contract will not count against the Knicks' salary cap.
"We made a commitment to our Knicks fans that we would put together a team that would compete for an NBA championship year in and year out," Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan said. "The addition of Tyson along with Amare [Stoudemire] and Carmelo [Anthony] is another important piece of that puzzle."
The Knicks also added a smaller piece to that puzzle Saturday, signing free agent point guard Mike Bibby to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum. Bibby's agent, David Falk, confirmed the signing to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.
At the beginning of free agency, the Knicks were not on Chandler's radar. But agent Jeff Schwartz reached out to Knicks acting general manager Glen Grunwald late last week to see if the Knicks were a possible suitor.
Initially, the team was believed to covet New Orleans point guard Chris Paul. But when it became clear that they did not have the trade chips to make a deal for Paul, they turned their attention to Chandler.
The Knicks rose to the top of Chandler's list of suitors as soon as they showed interest. The reason behind that? He wanted to play with Anthony and Stoudemire.
"When this opportunity presented itself, I couldn't turn this down," Chandler said. "It's a young team, a team that's going to be good for years now. My whole goal is to win a championship and to be able to contend for one. I just couldn't pass up on it."
Chandler 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. He also finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
The ten-year veteran brings the size and paint presence the Knicks have lacked in recent seasons.
"He brings everything that we didn't have," coach Mike D'Antoni said on Friday, before the deal was announced. "... We got a lot better, real quick."
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 out-rebounded by 3.5 boards per game.
Chandler hopes to change all that.
"I know what my job is in coming here. I know I came here to defend," said Chandler, who was flanked by D'Antoni and Grunwald during the news conference and later joined by Stoudemire and Anthony. "I'm going to defend the rim and I'm going to rebound. I'm going to get extra shots. I know if we play on both ends, and we play as a team, the sky is definitely the limit."
D'Antoni said that a front-court featuring Stoudemire, Anthony and Chandler is -- on paper -- the best in the league. Chandler agreed. "I don't think we're overstating that," D'Anonti said. "... I think we're better than anybody in the league."
The sign-and-trade gives Dallas a sizeable trade exception.
Rautins isn't expected to make the trip to Dallas because the team is expected to waive him, according to sources.
The Knicks had to move Turiaf (scheduled to make $4.8 million this season) and Billups to create cap space to sign Chandler.
Grunwald said he didn't want to amnesty Billups, a veteran who was well-liked among teammates, but "it's just the nature of the business."
Grunwald told Billups on Saturday, "It's not like we're waiving you because we don't want you. Look at it for what it is: We traded you basically for the starting center on the NBA championship team."
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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