Three years after the most criticized personnel decision in Mark Cuban‘s career, it looks like Tyson Chandler is heading back to Dallas in the first marquee roster move of the NBA‘s offseason.
The Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks are reportedly in the process of finalizing a trade that would send Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to the Mavericks and Dallas starters Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert to New York.
This deal, assuming it goes through, would have to feel like some things have been made right for many Dallas supporters. After winning the job of starting center from Brendan Haywood, Chandler became the defensive anchor in Dallas for the 2010-11 Mavericks, who eventually became NBA Champions at the end of that season. Afterward, with new luxury tax rules in pursuit of all teams over the salary cap, Cuban decided to pass on offering Chandler the kind of contract that would keep him in Dallas.
Chandler moved on to sign with the Knicks, and the situation has been called to mind every time the Mavericks have struggled since. Cuban has been questioned for his decision time and time again, but maybe all will be forgiven if Chandler ends up back in Dallas.
Still, the best-case scenario for the Mavericks this summer would have been to add a defensive-minded big man to insert into the starting lineup while hanging on to Dalembert to roam the paint with the second unit. Evidently, that possibility isn’t in the cards, but bringing back Chandler is something the city of Dallas can really get behind.
Felton has been a serviceable point guard for several years and for a handful of teams in this league. He may not shoot the ball with the proficiency of Calderon, and his assist-turnover ratio may not be as good, but he is younger and more athletic, and will help the Mavericks’ backcourt on the defensive end.
Fortunately for Dallas, Felton can be incorporated into the rotation as a reserve due to the fact that Devin Harris came on strong at the end of the most recent basketball season after recovering from toe surgery. As long as the Mavericks succeed in re-signing Harris to a reasonable contract, he can be inserted seamlessly into the starting lineup and have Felton back him up.
Trade scenarios can produce a bittersweet flavor. This one is no exception, but make no mistake: it makes the Mavericks a better team. It obviously doesn’t fix all of their problems, but it does fix one major problem, and this certainly will not be the only roster move made by the Mavericks this summer.
Brian Ogle is a Dallas Mavericks columnist for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @TheOgle.