Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Knicks just got a whole lot bigger, tougher and more defensive-minded.
Former Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler officially joined the team Saturday via a sign-and-trade as part of a three-team trade.
He reportedly signed a four-year, $58 million deal to come to New York and help the Knicks challenge for their first NBA title since 1973.
Chandler will join Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to form potentially the best frontcourt in the NBA.
“Right now, if it was all done with paper, I would say we were the best,” Chandler told reporters. “We got a lot of work to do.”
Ronny Turiaf, a reported $3 million in cash and a 2013 second-round draft choice were dealt to the Washington Wizards and former Syracuse standout Andy Rautins was sent to Dallas.
Dallas sent a 2012 second-round draft choice to Washington and the draft rights to Ahmad Nivins, a former standout for coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony, and Giorgos Printezis to New York.
Washington sent a conditional future second-round draft choice to Dallas.
“This is an important day for the New York Knicks,” interim GM Glen Grunwald said. “Signing a player of Tyson’s caliber, with championship experience, to this roster, is an opportunity we could not pass up. His stellar play last season earned him league-wide recognition and helped lead his team to an NBA Championship.”
The 7-foot-1, 225-pound Chandler played a pivotal role in leading the Mavericks to the franchise’s first ever NBA title last season, averaging 8.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 0.90 blocks in 21 postseason games.
“Tyson will be the anchor to our defense,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “The trio of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson makes one of the most formidable frontlines in the entire league.”
A year ago, the Knicks ranked 20th in rebounding and 26th in opponent field goal percentage. They gave up an average of 45.4 points in the paint — fifth-highest in the league — and were out-rebounded by 3.5 per game.
Chandler can make a big difference in all those areas.
“I know what my job is in coming here. I know I came here to defend,” Chandler said. “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.”
After barely playing at all during his rookie season, Rautins had hoped for a bigger role this season. Instead, he must start over with Dallas.
He tweeted: “I had a great time in NY. Thank you to those who wished me well and supported me throughout my time here. Best of luck to my boys this year.”
Chandler was originally selected as the No. 2 pick of the 2001 Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers but was traded to Chicago with Brian Skinner in exchange for Elton Brand.
“We were looking for a center and Tyson Chandler’s a perfect fit for us,” 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.”
Photo: New York Times
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.