The 24 hours leading up to the NBA draft are a hectic period filled with trades and transactions. The biggest move leading to the event was made by the New York Knicks, sending Tyson Chaldner as the headliner in a six-player trade back to the Dallas Mavericks. Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets traded Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first round draft pick. Both Texas teams are thinking the same thing: Making room for a big star.
For the Mavericks, this wasn’t just about opening up space for Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. It was about bringing back someone they’ve missed since winning the NBA title in 2011. Chandler left the team as a free agent that summer, and of the deal he signed with the Knicks at the time, there is one season left with $14.5 million of a cap hit to take. Chandler wasn’t the only thing that came: Raymond Felton, a player the Knicks no longer wanted, is also headed to Dallas, with one year of $3.8 million left on his deal but also a player option for 2015-2016 worth $3.9 million.
The Mavs gave up four players: Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Wyane Ellington and two second round picks in the 2014 NBA draft, for what they got from the Knicks. FOr the Mavs, this wasn’t about cap space: They have it, even after Dirk Nowitzki signs his home discount deal. It was about adding a piece that will help them attract someone like Carmelo Anthony and/or LeBron James, convincing the two they’re serious about winning an NBA championship.
For the Knicks, it’s slightly less of a clear cut case of what made this deal so good. They’ll be saving $3 million in cap space this season which also means a nice relief on the tax issue, but it’ll cost them $5 million in flexibility in 2015. Maybe they’ve given up on the idea of holding on to Carmelo Anthony, and this deal might slightly make them better considering Chandler didn’t do much on offense and Calderon is an upgrade at point guard, while Larkin gives them a young player, something the Knicks sorely needed. The Knicks might be trying to move both Larkin and Dalembert on seperate deals.
The Houston Rockets have the same idea that the Dallas Mavericks have – bringing Anthony or James over. For them it’s less about the players they have, but more about clearing cap space. The first move turned out to be Omer Asik, sending the Turkish center to the New Orleans Pelicans, who have a very good lineup and didn’t have to give up this year’s draft pick. The Rockets get the first round pick for the 2015 draft.
Asik had a rough time once Dwight Howard arrived. The combination of the two of them in the same lineup didn’t work, and a mysterious injury kept Asik off the court for a very long time. He returned eventually and had some solid contribution from time to time, including the postseason, but he wants to be a starting center, and the Rockets can’t afford having a backup big man take $8.3 million in cap space.
The Rockets are opening cap space with these deals and intend on moving Jeremy Lin and maybe even Chandler Parsons as well, hoping that it convinces Anthony and maybe even LeBron James to sign with them. With Asik the Rockets also sent $1.5 million in cash to the Pelicans. The draft pick is protected, and will only go to the Rockets if it falls in the spots of 4 to 19.