As Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported last month, the Dallas Mavericks “intend to be at the front of the line” to get back New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler. Chandler only played a monster role in helping the Mavericks defeat LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals, so it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Mavericks owner Mark Cuban try to make up for his biggest error.
But let’s not forget why Cuban didn’t re-sign Chandler in 2011–he was not willing to show Chandler the money. So you’d have to think Cuban would be unwilling to take on Chandler’s entire salary, even if it’s just for this one season. Cuban likes bargains, like when he acquired Chandler the first time and got Monta Ellis this past offseason.
And that brings us, naturally, to the dilemma of new Knicks president Phil Jackson. Jackson might be willing to help out friends in need–like Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher–but Cuban and the Mavericks are not his friends; he’s not trying to help Dallas out. If anything, Jackson, remembering how Rick Carlisle‘s team embarrassed his Los Angeles Lakers in 2011 with a sweep in the second round of the playoffs, will try to squeeze the Mavericks.
Jackson will probably demand young talent like Shane Larkin, Jae Crowder and draft picks until eternity. And it’s not to say the Mavericks can’t eventually get a trade done for Chandler, just that Cuban should hold out until next year’s trade deadline, when Jackson will be desperate.