Tyson Chandler brought a defensive presence to the Dallas Mavericks last season that helped them win a championship. Now, he will try to bring the same presence to a New York Knicks team that sorely needs it.
Chandler signed a four-year, $58 million contract with the Knicks today, according to ESPN, meaning the Knicks will have to use the one-time amnesty clause created by the new collective bargaining agreement to release point guard Chauncey Billups. This leaves the Knicks extremely thin in the backcourt, but gives them the interior defensive presence they have been lacking for years.
I've heard a lot of people say they think the Knicks overpaid for Chandler, but I disagree. It certainly seems to take them out of the running for an elite point guard like Chris Paul or Deron Williams, but the Knicks already play great offense. They struggle protecting the basket and outside of trading for Dwight Howard, another unlikely scenario, Chandler was the best option for the Knicks to fix their biggest problem.
This leaves the Knicks with Toney Douglas, Landry Fields and rookie Iman Shumpert to man the backcourt. Douglas will likely be the team's starting point guard; he's a player who benefited from Billups' veteran presence last season. Douglas learned things about the position he never knew from Billups and hopefully he can succeed in the role.
If Shumpert develops an offensive game, particular a better jump shot, he may be the Knicks' point guard of the future. For now, he will be a role player coming off the bench. His ability to defend three positions should mesh well on the court with Chandler's post defense and the Knicks' two big scorers, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
In the end, this is a big win for the Knicks. They may be out of the running for Paul or Williams now, barring a trade including Anthony or Stoudemire, but they shored up their biggest weakness on the inside of their defense. Besides, waiting for something to happen with Paul or Williams could have left the Knicks with nothing, so why not get a player who can fill a need now?
Chandler should help the Knicks drastically improve their porous defense from the last few seasons, which may also attract even more players to play in the Big Apple. That's what Stoudemire did by signing last season and if the Knicks continue to add talented pieces that fill their needs, they could be legitimate championship contenders for years to come.