The Fellowship of the First Trade

“It is not our part to master the tides of the world, but to do what is within us for the years wherein we are set”

By the time the first Lord of the Rings movie was released in 2001, Phil Jackson already earned 9 championship rings, but considering Phil is now a president for the first time in his career, Knick fans around the country are wondering if there is enough magic left for one more ride to glory. Running a successful NBA franchise is like building a complex puzzle. After acquiring 13 rings as a player & coach, Jackson is now trying to put the pieces together for his 14th run at NBA immortality. So without further delay let’s review his first trade as a President of basketball operations.

The Fellowship of the First Trade

On June 25th The Zen Master traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for Jose Calderon, Sam Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and 2 second round picks. The 2 picks were later parlayed into Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo during the draft last Thursday.

The Mavericks Recieved…

Raymond Felton : Felton is arguably the worst starting point guard in the NBA(Patrick Beverley & Mario Chalmers are also competing for that title). Felton habitually starts seasons out of shape, he can’t defend his position, and the icing on the cake was a gun charge that almost cost him his career last season. At this stage the Knicks losing Ray Felton can almost be viewed as addition by subtraction.

Tyson Chandler : Once upon a time Tyson Chandler was “Mike-Tyson Chandler”, He recklessly defended the paint. Just a season ago he was named Defensive Player of the Year. However this past year came with regression, He went from Mike Tyson to soft “Cry-Son” Chandler, constantly getting bullied out of the paint by opponents half his size, missing games because of headaches and menstrual cramps. It was almost as if he did not want to play basketball anymore. Hopefully joining back up with Dirk Nowitski can resurrect his career.

The Knicks Recieved…

Jose Calderon: Calderon is an ice cold shooter that plays smart and stays within his ability. He shot the 3 at 48% during the playoffs after shooting 45% during the regular season. He is a true euro point that sees the floor like an NFL quarterback reading through his progressions. Knick fans are familiar with Pablo Prigioni, Calderon is Pablo with a mean jumper. His defense leaves A LOT to be desired but considering he is replacing Felton, Jose is definitely an upgrade.

Sam Dalembert: Tyson Chandler was so bad last year that when you normalize his minutes per game with Dalembert’s they were almost identical players statistically. I’m not saying Sammy and Tyson are equal players, im just saying, Sammy didn’t need to pop Midol pills to stay on the court last year.

Shane Larkin: This guy is the Wildcard of the deal and potentially trade bait for another team. Larkin is under-sized but extremely quick and springy with a very good jumper. It will be interesting to see what he can do if he stays in New York

Wayne Ellington: Wayne is the contract filler… This guy is a shooter and not much else, seemed to be under-utilized in Dallas.

Cleanthony Early: At the end of draft night Cleanthony Early was considered to be the steal of the night by many sport writers across the country. Lets just say Antwan Jamison/Caron Butler hybrids have no business in the 2nd round of any NBA draft.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: It is a bit unrealistic for teams not named “The Spurs” to select Manu Ginobili caliber players this late in the draft. I’m not sure what the ‘other Greek brother’ can do on the NBA level but his draft measurables look intriguing. If he can be a serviceable player and not the Taylor Griffin of the Antetokounmpo family, he will be adored by a fan base that loves cheering for the underdog.


The Conclusion…


In hindsight the winner of this trade will depend on which Tyson Chandler the Mavericks receive. If they get the same “Mike Tyson” that won DPOY two seasons ago then Dallas probably got the better end of this deal. However if Dallas gets the tampon wearing crybaby from this past season then Phil Jackson has gotten away with highway robbery.


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