Tyson Chandler is returning to the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Wednesday that the Mavs are reacquiring the center that helped the franchise win its only championship.
Dallas will also receive Raymond Felton via the trade with the New York Knicks.
In return, Dallas is sending Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and the 34th and 51st picks (both second-rounders) in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Since parting ways with Chandler in the summer of 2011, the Mavericks have rotated several players through the organization in an attempt to anchor the defense. Dalembert was the most recent center to come through Dallas and joins a list that includes Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, and Eddy Curry.
Chandler has one year left on the four-year deal he signed with the Knicks worth $15 million. Felton, who fell out of favor in New York after Phil Jackson took the reins, has two years remaining on his contract worth a combined $7.6 million.
Coming into the summer after losing in seven games to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, the Mavericks spoke about continuity playing a major role in how they move forward. Apparently, that has gone right out the window as the team has traded two starters and a player selected in the first round of last year’s draft.
The loss of Calderon is the most pressing. He is an able point guard who, along with Monta Ellis, helped quarterback the Mavs’ highly-efficient offense. When he wasn’t the primary ball handler, Calderon helped to space the floor, setting up behind the three-point line where he shot 44.9 percent.
Defensively, though, he was a sieve; as were the Mavericks as a whole with a defensive rating ranked 22nd in the league.
Improving their defense is exactly what Dallas has in mind with bringing Chandler back. However, he is not the same player he was in 2011. During the past two seasons, Chandler has been plagued with various injuries, appearing in only 66 games in 2012-13 and 55 games last season. His scoring and shooting percentages have also dipped, but his rebounding has remained steady. The Mavs were a bad rebounding team last season, so Chandler should help in that respect.
As for Felton, he is kind of the outlier in the deal. He's struggled with fitness issues for much of his career and recently pled guilty in a plea bargain arrangement to a felony gun charge in New York. These are either warning signs, or just another day for Open Carry Texas, depending on how you look at it.
Last season was a disappointing one for Felton. He shot below 40 percent and scored just 9.7 points per game as the Knicks’ starting point guard. Felton isn’t a bad player, but at this point, it is hard to believe that he will have a starting role with Dallas.
Reacquiring Chandler is a nostalgic move for the organization, and especially for the fans. It is also one that should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. Chandler has a history of injuries and the Mavericks seemed to get lucky in 2011. He will= turn 32 this coming season, which gives Dallas a limited window to work with in terms of future growth. The Mavs certainly aren’t getting any younger.
Of course, everything could work out. There’s nothing preventing that from happening. But if it doesn’t, it will be a constant reminder of what could have been if the Mavericks had resigned him three years ago.