ESPN’s Chris Sheridan reported yesterday that Donnie Walsh has a deal on the table to acquire a first round pick in the 2011 draft. Though he didn’t mention for what, I would speculate that Wilson Chandler (above) could be involved. He was whispered to be on the outs with Knicks over the summer, and nearly every Knicks’ rumor of late has seemed to involve Chandler. Chandler, Isiah Thomas’ last first round selection, has developed into a nice scorer. And for a Knick, he’s a fairly dependable shooter from the outside. But at his lofty height, 6’8/6’9–he’s probably best suited to play forward, because he matches up better with forwards than guards on defense. The Knicks are also extremely high on this year’s 2nd round pick, Landry Fields of Stanford, who seems to have similar talents and is close in size to Wilson Chandler, perhaps making Chandler all the more expendable.
Chandler shot a very respectable 48 % from the floor last year, improving on his shooting percentage considerably from the 08-09 season to the 09-10 season by cutting down on bad three point shot attempts. Call us crazy, but we see that as some nice development from the 4th year Knick. The Knicks obviously haven’t seen it that way. When pursuing Lakers backup Shannon Brown this summer, the Knicks were believed to have all but assured Brown that he’d see starter’s minutes. If that was to be the case, then Chandler would obviously be looking at a demotion, or being traded.
While the Knicks might be wise to keep Chandler, and would definitely be wise to acquire a first round pick in the draft next year, especially if they could do so without trading Chandler away, a lot of NY media types are going wild in a foolish attempt to connect the dots between Denver’s Carmelo Anthony and New York. Knicks’ president Walsh said last week on a conference call with reporters that he was in the market for a first rounder, and when the Nets fell out of the Anthony sweepstakes this week and the news of the Knicks having an offer on the table that would net them a # 1, people are automatically assuming that this draft pick acquisition would be the precursor to a trade for Anthony.
Why would that necessarily be the case? Keep in mind that the Knicks and Denver have little common ground for such a deal. While Denver would like to receive a 1st round pick as part of a deal for Anthony, Walsh told WFAN’s Mike Francesa recently that talks with Denver have not gotten off the ground because Denver sees little of value in terms of players the Knicks have to offer. Just about anyone can get them a draft pick, but who can get the Nuggets the types of players they are seeking in a trade?
Also, it has been rumored that Nuggets’ management will not trade Anthony to the Knicks because they feel that Amar’e Stoudemire’s public comments about Anthony wanting to play for the Knicks essentially amount to tampering–the new tampering that is–when players follow the Dwayne Wade blueprint for recruiting, as players on different teams are allowed to have contact. While a rule in regard to that type of player contact maay be coming down the road, if logistically possible, we hear the Nuggets are incensed with Stoudemire, and would trade Anthony elsewhere to spite the Knicks.
I don’t think a Knicks’ trade for Anthony is happening. New York’s best chance to snag Anthony will come after July 1st, if Anthony makes it to free agency. Trading away their roster to acquire Anthony would leave the Knicks barren yet again, aside from a nucleus of Anthony and Stoudemire. As long as the Knicks maintain cap flexibility, they will be in the running for top tier free agents for the foreseeable future. Having just put together a team, finally, after 2 full seasons in limbo, it would be foolish for Walsh to blow it up so soon.
In other Knicks’ news, former St. John’s star, dream teamer, and Golden State general manager Chris Mullin, has accompanied the Knicks to Europe for exhibitons in Milan and Paris. We have seen Mullin’s inclusion on the trip portrayed a couple ways. Mullin is close to Walsh, and may be in line to become the Knicks general manager and heir apparent to Walsh as team president. Why else would an unemployed personnel guy be hanging around the team? We’d be happy if this were indeed the case. Mullin, a college teammate of Mark Jackson, might be inclined to hire his old chum–a move we endorse wholeheartedly because we feel that Jackson is a great communicator who would have the ear of all of the Knicks players, and the attention of the league.
Other reports have stated that Knicks’ owner Jim Dolan has no intention of approving such a hire, citing his ties to Isiah Thomas and because Dolan feels it would be redundant for the Knicks to hire a 3rd personnel executive at this time.