POSTED: Jun 25, 2014 5:57 PM ET
Three years after failing to re-sign Tyson Chandler and keeping the core of their 2011 championship team together, the Dallas Mavericks completed a deal Wednesday with the New York Knicks to bring Chandler back, along with point guard Raymond Felton, for guards Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin and veteran center Samuel Dalembert.
The Mavs were determined to improve their roster after losing to the eventual champion Spurs in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Even though Dirk Nowitzki is likely to sign a deal to finish his career in Dallas, he was looking for the team to make upgrades in the offseason. Bringing back the 31-year-old Chandler will make Nowitzki happy, and, the Mavs hope, provide stability again in the middle.
Chandler struggled his last year and a half with the Knicks, with injuries robbing the 2012 NBA Defensive Player of the Year of some of his quickness. But he played the best basketball of his career for Rick Carlisle in Dallas, anchoring a defense that excelled at zones and stymied LeBron James in the 2011 Finals.
The Mavericks defeated the Heat in six games in 2011 to win the franchise's first NBA title. But Dallas never brought that team back to defend its title, a decision that rankled star Nowitzki to no end. The Knicks and Chandler agreed to a four-year, $55 million deal at the conclusion of the 2011 lockout, which ultimately became a three-team deal involving the Wizards. Jason Kidd, the starting point guard, signed with the Knicks. And Dallas was unable in the subsequent two years to get significant free agents to sign there, from Dwight Howard to Deron Williams to former Mavs star Steve Nash.
The 32-year-old Calderon was a prized free-agent pickup last summer for Dallas, signing a four-year deal for $29 million. He averaged 11 points and 4.7 assists in 81 games last season for the Mavericks, and is expected to be a natural fit in the triangle-centric offense new Knicks Coach Derek Fisher is likely to implement in New York next season.
The Mavs raved about Larkin after getting him from Atlanta on Draft night last year. The rookie from Miami was limited by injuries at the start of the season and spent part of the year in the NBA D-League, but was believed to be a big part of Dallas' future.
Dalembert struggled through most of the season in Dallas, even though he started most of the season after signing a two-year deal with the Mavericks last summer.
Felton played extremely well for half a season under former coach Mike D'Antoni in 2011, but has dropped off noticeably since. He was arrested in February after his estranged wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, informed police that Felton had an unlicensed gun in his New York home. Raymondo-Felton said that her husband took the gun out several times during arguments between the couple. On Monday, it was reported that Felton was expected to plead guilty to a felony in his gun possession case in exchange for a no-jail sentence.
He received a $5,000 fine and told to perform 500 hours of community service. He has two years and $9 million left on his contract.
ESPN.com first reported the trade.