May 6, 2014, 5:38 PM EDT
You knew Mark Cuban was serious about breaking up the Mavericks the year after their championship when they let Tyson Chandler — the defensive anchor of their title squad — walk out the door all the way to the New York Knicks.
Now, they want him back.
Dallas’ makeshift roster won 49 games last season and showed some promise, but it also had some distinct needs. One is better rim protection on defense, Samuel Dalembert did the best he could but at this point that is only so much. So if the Knicks will talk trade the Mavericks will want in the conversation, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
The most interesting whisper, at this early stage, is that the Mavs intend to be at the front of the line to try to reacquire Tyson Chandler should the Knicks make their defensive anchor available via trade. Letting Chandler go remains the most fiercely debated aspect of Cuban’s decision to break up the Mavs’ championship team, but word is they’ll indeed pursue what many will regard as an overdue reunion.
Chandler is owed $14.6 million next season and the Knicks, with Phil Jackson looking to retool a shaky roster, might be willing to move Chandler — but he’s going to want quality back. Jackson is not just going to dump the salary, he could hold on to Chandler all season, get good play out of him, and still save the money in the summer of 2015.
The Mavericks current roster is not filled enticing options to a rebuilding Knicks team. There could be draft picks involved but there would have to be a third team or other parts to get the Knicks to dump the salary. (Now, if you want Andrea Bargnani that salary they will dump, but Chandler still has value on the court.)
Still this is something to watch.
It’s also a sign that Dallas thinks they can win with core parts of this roster back and a few additions. Maybe. But it will not be easy in the very deep West.
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