Wilson Chandler's Slump May Be Due to Trade Talks

Joseph MattarellianoContributor IJanuary 23, 2011

Trade rumors have begun to distract Wilson Chandler
Trade rumors have begun to distract Wilson ChandlerChristian Petersen/Getty Images

Picture yourself walking into work Monday morning. You walk past the water coolers to the sounds of other employees whispering. They can't possibly be talking about you right? No way.

You're one of the most popular employees in the office, everyone likes you. You get in early, you leave late, and you're one of the major reasons the company had a successful quarter.

A few hours go by and as you're heading to the restroom you hear another employee talking on the phone in their cubicle. She is talking about how the company is in serious talks to trade you to a similar company about 500 miles from where you've built your life and raised your family.

What are some of the things that would begin running through your head? 'How could this happen? I've been here almost 4 years and I'm just starting to hit my stride. As a company, we're finally climbing out of the hole we were in when I got here 4 years ago and I feel like I'm part of that. I don't want to go.'

Would you be able to go back to your desk/work site after hearing that and be as productive as you were before? I didn't think so.

Welcome to the world of Knicks forward Wilson Chandler.

Rumors have been swirling for weeks about a possible trade that would send him, another Knicks player, and draft picks to the Denver Nuggets for free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony.

The main credit for the Knicks return to relevance goes to players like Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton, but don't discount what Chandler has done for this team.

He is clearly good enough to start in this league and has taken the role of coming off the bench for Mike D'Antoni in stride. Chandler hasn't complained once about rookie Landry Fields starting over him while he is in his walk year.

This season is the most important season of Chandler's career. This season's production will determine his worth when he hits the free agent market. Still, not a peep from Chandler. How many players can you name with that type of class? The list is very short.

Early on in the season, during the Knicks 8 game winning streak life was good. The Knicks were rolling and Chandler was playing out of his mind. During that streak he was shooting 55 percent from the floor. Averaging roughly 20 points per game and giving every Knicks fan a reason to thank Isiah Thomas for something.

Thomas drafted Chandler in the first round out of DePaul with one of the few first round picks he didn't trade away.

The Knicks were hot and what was everyone talking about? Carmelo Anthony.

The analysts and so-called "experts" around the country could only focus on what this rejuvenated Knicks team was missing. Before you know it, everyone and their mother has a trade package put together to obtain 'Melo from the Nuggets.

All of them include Wilson Chandler.

Fast forward to present day. The Knicks are in the midst of a 6 game losing streak and are just coming off a loss where Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant stuck a dagger through their heart as time expired.

Chandler looks lost on the floor. His shot selection has been atrocious, he couldn't finish a layup if they widened the hoop 5 inches, and he is just not hustling.

I believe this is because of the trade rumors. Earlier in the night it was reported that the Nuggets turned down a trade that would have involved Chandler in it.

I am not saying that Chandler is dogging it on the floor. He doesn't know how too. I am saying that he is incredibly distracted right now and it is all over his face and most notably, his play.

During the course of this 6 game losing streak Chandler has shot 36 percent from the floor and averaged 11 point per game. Something is up.

Am I asking people to feel bad for Chandler? No, I know it is hard to feel bad for someone making over 2 million dollars this season.

I am asking people to understand how distracting something like this can be. How it might feel to wake up every morning not knowing where you’re going to be in a month. Most of us may feel that way at our jobs in this economy and I bet you can admit that it affects your performance. 

Donnie Walsh needs to realize that this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Chandler has been a loyal employee going back to the dark days of the Isiah era. He deserves a little bit of respect, which is something the Knicks organization hasn't been known for over the last decade. Think Don Chaney being escorted out of the Garden. Enough said. 

You want to be known as the man who changed the face of the Knicks franchise forever? Do this the right way. Don't let the Carmelo rumors drag out until the All-Star break.

Either pull the trigger on a trade or announce that you will not pursue it. Leaving guys like Wilson Chandler hanging in the wind is not only disrespectful but it has begun to affect the play of the team.

Get it together Donnie. Fast.