It has been a difficult year for Wilson Chandler on and off the court. His grandfather passed away a few weeks ago and he has missed the last four games due to a left groin injury. The Knicks are considering shutting him down for the rest of the season.
Chandler is a very talented player but also a very attractive trading piece. He is turning 23-years-old in May and will be making $2.1 million next season; he has a qualifying offer for $3 million the year after.
If the Knicks sign two big free agents within the next two years, I think it makes Chandler expendable—meaning his role would change. I do not see him attempting 13 shots a game.
But what could Chandler be traded for?
New York does not have a first-round pick in this year’s or 2012 NBA Draft. However, we have seen the Knicks buy a late first-round pick from another franchise.
The third year forward is averaging career highs in points (15.3), field goal percentage (47.9) and minutes per game (35). He has overcome a slow start when he averaged 11.5 points and shot 40.5 percent in November.
The player who has benefited the most from Chandler’s absence is Danilo Gallinari. In his past three games, Gallo has scored 25, 26, and 28 points. He has made 27 free throws and ten three-pointers over this span. He has shown the ability to take over a game and make clutch shots.
Before the game against the Nuggets, the second-year player asked if he could guard All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. Gallo wants to become a better defender and his style of play and personality have won over Knicks fans. He will be turning 22-years-old over the summer.
Toney Douglas is another player who has seen his production rise. The rookie has started the past six games and has scored at least 20-plus points in four of them. Douglas turned 24-years-old last week and is playing like the starting point guard for next season.
It is very unlikely Chandler will be traded because of his age and salary but I feel the Knicks will not miss him if he is off the team. However, the young nucleus of Gallo and Douglas going into next season should only get better.