It's the end of an era. After three seasons with the New York Knicks, Tyson Chandler will be traded back to the Dallas Mavericks. It's been an up-and-down three years, and though Chandler's future has been unclear for months, it feels strange to finally say goodbye. Here's what the P&T staff had to say about the departure of #tape6:
Tyson Chandler is an NBA champion, an Olympic gold medalist, a Defensive Player of the Year (with the Knicks, for Pete's sake!) He is also a man who quit on his team last season. I will celebrate the former while sympathizing with the latter.
People ripped Chandler for tanking the second half of the 2013-14. To be sure, it was painful to watch -- a once proud player barely giving two craps.
I still think it is important to remember that he started out on fire before Kemba Walker fell into his leg. He rehabbed for weeks, and this was his first game back from that broken leg:
You can see him waving off Bargnani as he launches himself (further) into infamy with the Dumbest Shot in History. Alas, Chandler didn't stop grabbing offensive rebounds, and J.R. rewarded him with the Dumbest Shot in History: Redux.
Imagine how hard it is to grab an offensive rebound in the NBA, particularly late in a close game. Chandler did it, and did it well...for a time. He did it until it became painfully obvious there was no reason to do so.
He cleaned up the mistakes of his woeful perimeter defenders until the incessant parade of unmolested slashers simply broke his spirit.
Best of luck in Dallas, Tyson Chandler. I wish you all the best. It was fun for a while.
I'm not here to talk about Tyson Chandler. I'm here to talk about Raymond Felton. Raymond Felton was a player who was on the Knicks for the past two years (and also for half a season in 2010-11). He is no longer on the Knicks as of tonight. He is now on the Mavericks. I'm sure he tries his best, but he stinks at basketball and I will not miss him.
Alright, you got me. I really am here to talk about Tyson Chandler. I mean, c'mon. Of course I am. I don't say it very often, but Tyson Chandler was my favorite Knick for the entirety of his time here, as I admired almost everything about his basketball-playing ability. He was often the only player in a New York jersey who understood anything about defense, yet Tyson seemed to relish the challenge of effectively covering 5 opposing players at once. He could dunk the ball with such ferocity, it looked like the backboard would shatter every time. Sure, it'd be nice if he could hit a few more jump shots, but he gave 100% effort even when the players around him were tripping over their shoelaces. You know, until this past season, when he basically quit on the team part-way through the year. I doubt I'm alone when I say that I'm upset with how Chandler handled a situation he was clearly unhappy with; he had every right to be angry at his teammates, his coach, and his team's owner, but petulance was not the solution. Regardless, that was the path Tyson chose, and that is why he needed to be traded.
I've been of the belief that Chandler had to be traded this summer, no matter what city Carmelo Anthony plays in next year, since the end of the season. Even if Tyson bounces back next year, his skills are diminishing. As such, he cannot waste any time on a rebuilding team. The Knicks will not be have a good record next year, probably by design, and we've already seen how Chandler reacts to losing. By the time the Knicks are legitimately contending for an NBA title, Tyson Chandler will be of little use to them. Tyson Chandler and the New York Knicks are no longer right for each other, and while that's certainly upsetting, the time has come to move on.
I greatly appreciate everything Tyson Chandler did for the Knicks during his three seasons in New York, and I can't wait to see him return to his former glory in Dallas. However, I'm glad he's gone. As the saying goes, it's better to quit while you're ahead (or maybe a little behind). I'll remember our time together fondly, Tyson, but you're now where you need to be: on another team.
Have you ever dated your best friend only for it to not work out? Like, it's not that s/he's a bad person or anything. You guys just can't figure it out. Irreconcilable differences, right? The Knicks and Tyson Chandler had irreconcilable differences. Chandler was and is still a very good center. He's dynamite for any pick-and-roll offense, and he creates open shots for teammates with the mere threat of his roll to the rim. He's an important team defender, if a bit overrated on that end. I'll miss the way he sneers after sending an opponent's layup into the third row. The Knicks' coaching staff could never quite figure out that Carmelo Anthony and Chandler together in the frontcourt is scoring nirvana. TC just doesn't match the Knicks' vision of the future. Just met at the wrong time in each other's life, maybe. I guess that's okay.
I'm just trying to come to grips with it, you know? Tyson is my favorite player. I know he clearly wasn't a part of the team's future. The Knicks can repair the core here in New York in part by using the returns from the Chandler trade. I get that. Still. I wasn't ready. The All-Star and DPOY symbolized hope for me. He was direction. Now there is some unknown injected in the picture. I don't know where the Knicks go from here. Kind of afraid of that too, while we're just airing things out here. He caught a bad rap around some parts of the tape. He's injury-prone, yes. Some blamed him for any defensive failures the Knicks had. He's been (mistakenly) described as an offensive liability. Stats weren't enough to dissolve that criticism. Fans were restless. They needed a scapegoat. Chandler provided one. It happens. Now he's gone. I want to feel happy. Happy for him; he may yet compete for a title next to the ageless Dirk Nowitzki. Happy for me; no longer do I have to endure nettling comments about Tyson's play. I'm not happy about it, though. Just empty. It happened. The Knicks endure.
Farewell, offensive rebound back-taps. Farewell, high jump before games. Farewell, this thing. I truly wanted Chandler to retire a Knick. Tomorrow I'll think about Jose Calderon and his stellar shooting and passing. Maybe I'll find faith in a 34th overall pick. Tonight I'll remember Tyson as a Knick. I'll miss that.
Here's a tip that could save your life: if you're ever buried alive by an avalanche, you know what you should do? Spit. People who get avalanched don't have any way of orienting themselves. Sometimes they think they're digging their way up toward the surface when in truth they're digging down, making a deeper hole for themselves. That's why you spit: if it rests, you're facing down; if it drips back down toward you, things are literally looking up. I'm glad Tyson Chandler is gone. Not in the way I was glad when Gerald Wilkins or J.R. Reid or Eddy Curry were gone. I'm glad Chandler's gone because it puts an end to three years of a character actor being miscast as a star.
The Knicks essentially traded Chauncey Billups and their remaining cap room for years to bring in a one-and-a-half-dimensional player who could be the finishing piece on a title contender (ask the team that just brought him back). But the Knicks were never one Tyson Chandler away. They needed another true star and blocked themselves from getting one by committing to him. They'd have been better served by not picking up Billups' option in the first place; they'd have been ever better served by not using their one-shot amnesty on Billups months after picking up his option. You make that kind of about-face to bring in a foundational star. Chandler's a finishing touch, not a foundational star.
Chandler gave all you could ask of him-sort of. He brought the Knicks an instant (albeit short-lived) defensive intensity. His impact as a devastating pick-and-roll threat his first few years in New York was a welcome addition to the offense, particularly during the increasingly long stretches where Amar'e, the team's previous devastating pick-and-roller, was absent.
He put up decent numbers, but Chandler's the type of player whose total contributions extend into intangibles.
Or do they? On a human level, I can't blame the guy for looking around last year, realizing "The ship be sinking," and losing the will to fight. I just wish he'd gone farther with it. Like, either fight till the bitter end or turn whistleblower, but don't drift in between.
Did any Knick complain more about coaching decisions and the play of his teammates more than Tyson Chandler? I don't think so. Do I hold that against him? No, I don't. Or I suppose that I do, but I wouldn't if he'd gone further with it. Sometimes Chandler seemed like the kind of guy who'd be a real leader, who'd say what had to be said and speak truth to power. I wanted to see, if not a $15M a year talent, than a $15M a year leader. He was more a super loyal and committed comrade. Not a leader. I wanted Vladimir Lenin. I got Boxer from Animal Farm.
After many moons of the good ship Knickerbockers listing and sinking, the Phil Jackson hiring in March felt like the ship stabilizing. Now, getting rid of Felton, who needed to go, and Chandler, who practically released pheromones indicating he wanted to go, and for once the Knicks bringing back assets in a deal, there is finally the sensation of motion. There is orientation. It may be a long dig to get out of the mess they've buried themselves under, but for now it feels like at least the Knicks know which way is up. For that, Mr. Chandler, you will be fondly remembered.
In retrospect, I wish it could have been a more even Knicks stint. For a while there, the Knicks asked far too much of Chandler and he gave them every bit of it. Besides being the point of friction in every pick-and-roll and the fielder of every available rebound, Chandler was the Knicks' defense for more than a full season. The whole thing. New York's gameplan was just to send everyone his way and he gamely played dead end to all visitors.
Instead of easing his burden, the Knicks stripped down their perimeter defense and asked even more. And somewhere along the way, after bad moves and injuries and a lot of minutes logged, Chandler just snapped. No more thwarting penetrators, no more straining for rebounds, no more dunks with aftershocks.
I agree with everyone that Chandler bailed on Mike Woodson and the Knicks this season, and that sucks. I agree that his injuries (and poorly-timed contact with his flu-ridden children) became an increasing concern, and that sucks. I just hope we don't forget that this guy was everything to the Knicks for a meaningful stretch of time. And then he was nothing for another meaningful stretch of time. Add that up and divide by two, and Tyson Chandler was definitely something. I'm sad to see him go, but I know it had to be so.
Farewell, Tyson. You too, Raymond, but you don't get a post.