The Knicks Are Suddenly Winning the Tyson Chandler Race

Chandler would give the team the center they've been missing for years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Chandler won't be the only one jumping for joy if he comes to New York.

    Just when you thought you had all the answers to what the Knicks were planning for the next couple of years, they change the questions.

    All eyes have been focused on Chris Paul as the next big addition to the Knicks roster, but things took an unexpected change on Thursday afternoon. Multiple reports, led by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, have the Knicks on the verge of making a deal to land center Tyson Chandler as a free agent.

    His report is being echoed by Marc Stein of ESPN.com ("98 percent") and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. With the offseason officially opening on Friday, the Knicks are poised to make a major splash.

    Chandler was a key part of the Mavericks title run last season, providing the kind of defense and rebounding that made life difficult for every one of Dallas' opponents in the postseason. The Knicks haven't had a player remotely like him since the Jeff Van Gundy days and his presence in the lineup would radically change the kind of team the Knicks can put on the floor.

    There are drawbacks, particularly Chandler's injury history in the years before 2010-2011, but he also led the NBA in true shooting percentage (a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws) so his presence would also open the floor for other players. If the Knicks are able to land him, things would look very different heading into next season.

    Landing him will require some major roster machinations. Chauncey Billups will either be traded or cut using the amnesty provision in the new CBA , freeing up $14 million to spend on Chandler, and Ronny Turiaf will likely also be hitting the bricks.

    That's just what will happen to get Chandler to the Garden. What happens after he arrives is the subject of much discussion.

    Paul loved playing with Chandler when both men were in New Orleans, raising the possibility that acquiring the center is the first step toward acquiring the point guard. If that were to happen, the Knicks would almost certainly have to deal either Amar'e Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony to make it happen.

    Anthony would probably make more sense as an offense built around the pick-and-roll with Paul and Stoudemire, leaving Chandler to occupy space near the basket and clean up messes -- would be very difficult to stop. Add a couple of shooters on the perimeter and the Knicks offense would be one of the most versatile in the game.

    You could work the other way, too, although it feels like that offense would be more isolation based and less fluid than one without Anthony in it. Either way, you'd have a three-man core that makes the Knicks much better on both sides of the floor.

    Paul is hardly the only way to make it work, although you would need a better point guard than Toney Douglas or Iman Shumpert. There will be plenty of points that would love to play with that trio even if you might have to wait a season to bring one of them to town as a mid-priced free agent.

    The options don't stop there and the nature of this move makes it clear that there's not much use in trying to guess what's going to happen next for the Knicks. But something big looks like it is about to go down once again at Madison Square Garden.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.