NBA Free Agents 2011: Tyson Chandler to New York Knicks a Big Mistake

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2011

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 07: Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts against the Miami Heat  in Game Four of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 86-83. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The New York Knicks are apparently a lock to acquire Tyson Chandler via free-agency or sign-and-trade, yet no matter how they get him, it's a mistake.

This almost certain move bares a striking resemblance to when New York grossly overpaid an inconsistent Eddy Curry in a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls. And the Knicks only recently chewed their leg out of that bear trap.

The recklessness of Chandler's addition goes beyond 2012 and Chris Paul. New York is paying the 7'1" center handsomely for his services, when in fact, the services he provides are not that handsome.

Chandler is a lock-down defender. For now. He is a rebounding machine. For now. And he relieves a huge burden off Amar'e Stoudemire's shoulders. For now.

Chandler's whole career reads like a book of squandered potential. The 29-year-old has been wildly inconsistent, and only recently seemed to get his act together with the Dallas Mavericks last season.

That one season has apparently motivated the Knicks to sign him to the tune of $58 million over the next four years. And here the city of New York was thinking the days of tossing unwarranted money at overrated players was over.

Yes, Chandler is overrated. He boasts size in a center-starved league, but his impact is anything but guaranteed.

Now, in a brief defense of the Knicks, they do need a center and could do far worse than Chandler. That being said, aren't there enough question marks on the team?

Carmelo Anthony's surgery-free streak is over, and while he addressed the pain that has plagued him his whole career, the fact is he still went under the knife.

New York also has the uninsured contract of.Stoudemire. The power forward has already proven his worth, but has added a rehabilitated back to his already surgically repaired knees.

And now it seems we have Tyson Chandler, who plays the most physical position in the league, and has 10 years of abusive miles already to his name.

Does Chandler make the Knicks better? Yes, but he doesn't make them legitimate contenders. While it's true obtaining Chris Paul would have came with health risks too, his presence, unlike Chandler's, would have propelled the Knicks toward contention.

But again, this isn't about Paul. This is about New York committing max-level to near-max-level money to a player who isn't a star athlete. To call Chandler an elite big man in a league nearly void of substantial size is like saying the Clippers are the second-best professional basketball team in Los Angeles. It means almost nothing.

When Paul became out of reach, New York hit the panic button. Now they are poised to make the same genre of mistake that plagued them for nearly a decade.

The Knicks should not be against adding Chandler, but they should steadfastly refuse to sign him at such an astronomical rate. There only a few players worth voiding New York's cap space this summer, and he isn't one of them.  

Forget that a loophole in the new CBA allows players to restructure contracts, rendering a Paul signing next summer still possible. Forget it all. As noted numerous times, this is no longer about Paul.

The Knicks are toiling with fire here, and if history has taught us anything, it's that when they play with or fuel a fire, they are going get burned.

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