On This Date: Knicks acquire Tyson Chandler in sign-and-trade

December 10, 2011:  Knicks acquire Tyson Chandler in a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks

The New York Knicks solidified their frontcourt defense by acquiring Tyson Chandler from the Dallas Mavericks in a three-team, sign-and-trade deal.  The deal was made in December, on the second day of the preseason, due to the NBA Lockout. Chandler agreed to a 4-year, $58 million contract with the Knicks.

In order to make the necessary cap space for the move, the Knicks used a one-time amnesty provision granted from the lockout on Chauncey Billups. While Chandler added a much-needed defensive presence to the Knicks, it was a curious move to amnesty Billups, only months after exercising his $14.2 million player option.

Donnie Walsh decided against buying out the point guard, who was acquired the previous February in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Walsh stepped down as general manager before the NBA lockout met a resolution. Glen Grunwald then decided to use the amnesty provision, which wasn’t available to Walsh, but could have been saved for Amare Stoudemire, on Billups.

In the transaction for Chandler, the Knicks traded Ronny Turiaf, acquired in the David Lee sign-and-trade deal, a 2013 2nd round pick, and cash considerations to the Washington Wizards. The team also traded Andy Rautins, drafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, to the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks received the draft rights of Ahmad Nivins & Giorgos Printezis from the Mavericks. Nivins, a New Jersey native, spent his entire basketball career overseas and is currently a free agent. The Knicks still hold his draft rights. Printezis’ draft rights were later traded to the Portland Trailblazers in the Raymond Felton sign-and-trade deal. He is currently playing for Olympiacos in the Greek Basketball League.

The Knicks acquired Chandler to be the defensive cornerstone of a playoff team. Chandler came off a championship run with the Dallas Mavericks and was the anchor of the team’s defense. While the Knicks made the playoffs in the prior season, neither Anthony nor Stoudemire were great defenders or rebounders. Adding Chandler to the frontcourt gave Mike D’Antoni the defensive force to compete with the Miami Heat & Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference.

Chandler won the Defensive Player of the Year award in his first season with the Knicks.  He made the NBA All Star Team and NBA All-Defensive First Team in the following season.  A combination of a right knee injury suffered in a collision with Kemba Walker and an upper respiratory illness sidelined Chandler for a significant portion of the 2013-14 season and resulted in the fewest games played since the 2009-10 season.

Phil Jackson traded Chandler back to the Mavericks before the 2014 NBA Draft in his first major trade as President of Basketball Operations.  Knicks fans will always remember Tyson for his tenacious defense, alley-oop dunks, and his well-patented back-taps of offensive rebounds.

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