The Knicks have a tremendous need for a big man yet failed to capitalize by selecting one in the NBA draft. After selecting Andy Rautins of Syracuse with the No. 38 overall pick, the team instead selected the freakishly athletic wingman, Landry Fields, out of Stanford.
Potentially adding Fields to the plethora of wingmen the Knicks currently have on the roster poses the question: Who will be the odd man out?
The likely answer is Wilson Chandler. As the Knicks look to beef up their roster to attract the summer’s best free agents, Chandler could become key trade bait in order to bring in another valuable player.
Chandler is the furthest developed of the Knicks’ young core, as he is also the most tenured.
With Danilo Gallinari, Bill Walker, J.R. Giddens, and now Fields on the roster, Chandler is becoming expendable.
While Giddens is nothing more than a low-risk role player, Gallinari and Walker still have a tremendous amount of upside.
The Knicks feel Gallinari has the potential to become a perfect complement on offense to a star free agent signee, and Walker was among the scoring leaders in the D-League throughout his time there over the past two seasons.
What you see is basically what you will get with Chandler. While he has improved his mid-range game over the past couple seasons, his statistics in virtually every offensive category have been nearly identical during his two seasons as a starter.
Then again, do not assume that Chandler cannot improve. He is still only 23 years old. That being said, his game impact could always be replaced by the Knicks. He is not a game-changer, which is what the Knicks need in order to win.
With a handful of wingmen on the roster already, and nearly half of its roster left to fill, the Knicks do not need Chandler. He is not the type of player to surround a potential free agent star(s) with.
With the Knicks still lacking a defensive wall and low-post threat at center, Chandler would be a well-suited trade piece along with Eddy Curry, possibly to be sent to New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and Darren Collison.
This trade would benefit both teams. The Knicks would acquire Okafor, filling a desperate need. One of the league’s better defensive players, Okafor has averaged 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks throughout his career. He can certainly be a game-changer (on defense, that is) in the Eastern Conference.
For those not sold on Toney Douglas as a starting point guard just yet, they will be able to take more comfort in Collison. A player more ready for the NBA than Douglas is, Collison proved his worth as a starter while filling in for the injured Chris Paul this past season. Collison had 13 double-doubles (point and assists) and furthermore had seven games with nine assists.
The Hornets, already stacked at point guard with Chris Paul and Marcus Thornton, (in addition to Collison) would be smart to take advantage of the opportunity to rid itself of Okafor’s expensive contract, which continues on for four more years. The team would gain Curry’s expiring contract as well as a consistently performing starter in Wilson Chandler.
Wherever Curry ends up (hopefully) in a trade, it would make sense for Chandler to go with him as compensation, as Curry’s potential this season is completely unclear.
Unfortunately for Chandler, if he is not traded prior to the upcoming season, he could very well be pushed to the bench in favor of Gallinari and a much more talented free agent signee on the Knicks' roster.
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