Tyson Chandler

The Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks agreed to a six-player trade last Wednesday that landed center Tyson Chandler back in Dallas, where he won an NBA Championship in 2011.

The trade sent Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas in exchange for Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, and Shane Larkin in addition to the 34th and 51st pick in this year’s draft.

The Mavericks gave up two starters – Calderon at point guard and Dalembert at center – but received the best player in the deal in 2013 All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year Chandler, giving the Mavs a much needed defensive boost.

Last season, Dallas was excellent on offense, averaging 104.8 points per game, but lacked in defense ranking 26th in the league in rebounds per game with 40.9 and 20th in points allowed with 102.4.
Chandler, who played in just 55 games with the Knicks due to injury, averaged 2.9 offensive rebounds per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and 1.15 blocks per game. While his presence on the court is an established fact, his health since leaving the Mavs’ championship roster in 2011 is suspect: Chandler has missed 43 games over the last two seasons.

However, as great of an asset as Chandler is on defense, the Mavericks will miss Calderon on the offensive side of the ball. Calderon was a consistent threat from the land beyond, with a regular season 3-point percentage of .449. Yet, Calderon was often criticized for his defense, missing action in ‘crunch-time’ when defense was a necessity.

The trade to acquire the 32-year-old center shows that the Mavs are focusing on building a roster to win now. The organization is excited about the upcoming season after taking the 2014 champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in an intense series.

For Coach Rick Carlisle, acquiring Chandler is a step in the right direction.

“The guy is such an injection of enthusiasm and energy,” Carlisle said. “There have been few players that I’ve seen in 30 years in this league that have become so respected and so beloved in a market as Tyson has here in one year. He just has the exuberant enthusiasm that’s infection, and it rubs off on everybody.”  

Chandler believes that he can not only match his performance of 2011, but improve.
“Absolutely, I think I can be better,” said Chandler. “I finished the season healthy. I was already looking forward to this summer because I felt like there were so many things I could improve on.”

After missing out on landing big names in free agency for two straight years after their championship run, Dallas is now in a favorable position to try their luck at landing Carmelo Anthony also from the Knicks.

Chandler has wasted no time in recruiting former teammate Anthony for his current team.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team and the organization,” said Chandler. “But I’ll tell you one thing: Dallas isn’t a bad place to be. It’s a great opportunity, and clearly we’ve done it in the past. It’s not a hard place to sell. I’m going to do whatever it takes.” 

After a 66-game sprint in a four-month span, the NBA has reached its postseason and many teams are already marred by injuries. The heavy schedule and lack of off-season preparations seem to be taking their toll on key players. No team was hit harder by this wave of injuries than the No. 1 overall seed Chicago Bulls.

Having played one-third of their season without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls will have to continue their postseason run without their best player. Rose landed awkwardly while driving to the basket late in the fourth quarter of game one against the Philadelphia 76ers. His teammates and fans feared the worst as he was carried off the courts. Hours later, it was confirmed that he tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.

The Orlando Magic were hit by the injury bug weeks before the postseason got underway. They were well on their way to earning a top four seed in the Eastern Conference but then lost All-Star center Dwight Howard for the season with a
herniated disk.  

Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics’ hopes of making another championship run took a major hit when they lost Ray Allen with an ankle injury. While Allen will not require surgery, he’s expected to miss their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

The most bizarre injury of the playoffs so far goes to the Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire. After falling 0-2 to the Miami Heat, Stoudemire took out his frustrations by punching a glass enclosure around a fire extinguisher in the visitor’s locker room. Stoudemire sustained a lacerated left hand and will likely leave the Knicks without his services in their attempt to stay in the series.

“He’s probably going to be out. I don’t know how bad it is ... Your emotions run high. In a split second, a decision can alter things. You can’t fault anybody. We’ve got to deal with the repercussions,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler. The Knicks are also without Iman Shumpert, who tore his ACL on Saturday.

The Western Conference side of the bracket has, for the most part, been able to escape the current spree of injuries. The Los Angeles Clippers lost Caron Butler for the rest of the playoffs during their historic 27-point comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies. After scoring 12 points in 23 minutes, Butler broke his left hand during the second half.

The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder are amongst the teams who have yet to be affected by injuries. With the Chicago Bulls and Celtics out of the picture in the East, the Heat have a relatively easy path to make a return trip to the Finals.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins agrees that the compact schedule may factor into the current rise in injuries.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” Collins said. “The wear and tear, I don’t think there’s any question, the fatigue. What happens during the playoffs, it gets ratcheted up even more.”

Commissioner David Stern disagrees with the assessment saying during a radio interview he stated that the injuries and the tight regular season were unrelated.

“I don’t think it’s related at all,” Stern said. “When anything happens, that’s what’s going
to happen.”After a 66-game sprint in a four-month span, the NBA has reached its postseason and many teams are already marred by injuries. The heavy schedule and lack of off-season preparations seem to be taking their toll on key players. No team was hit harder by this wave of injuries than the No. 1 overall seed
Chicago Bulls.

Having played one-third of their season without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls will have to continue their postseason run without their best player. Rose landed awkwardly while driving to the basket late in the fourth quarter of game one against the Philadelphia 76ers. His teammates and fans feared the worst as he was carried off the courts.

Hours later, it was confirmed that he tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.
The Orlando Magic were hit by the injury bug weeks before the postseason got underway. They were well on their way to earning a top four seed in the Eastern Conference but then lost All-Star center Dwight Howard for the season with a
herniated disk.

Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics’ hopes of making another championship run took a major hit when they lost Ray Allen with an ankle injury. While Allen will not require surgery, he’s expected to miss their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

The most bizarre injury of the playoffs so far goes to the Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire. After falling 0-2 to the Miami Heat, Stoudemire took out his frustrations by punching a glass enclosure around a fire extinguisher in the visitor’s locker room. Stoudemire sustained a lacerated left hand and will likely leave the Knicks without his services in their attempt to stay in the series.

“He’s probably going to be out. I don’t know how bad it is ... Your emotions run high. In a split second, a decision can alter things. You can’t fault anybody. We’ve got to deal with the repercussions,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler. The Knicks are also without Iman Shumpert, who tore his ACL on Saturday.

The Western Conference side of the bracket has, for the most part, been able to escape the current spree of injuries. The Los Angeles Clippers lost Caron Butler for the rest of the playoffs during their historic 27-point comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies. After scoring 12 points in 23 minutes, Butler broke his left hand during the second half.

The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder are amongst the teams who have yet to be affected by injuries. With the Chicago Bulls and Celtics out of the picture in the East, the Heat have a relatively easy path to make a return trip to the Finals.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins agrees that the compact schedule may factor into the current rise in injuries.
“I don’t think there’s any question,” Collins said. “The wear and tear, I don’t think there’s any question, the fatigue. What happens during the playoffs, it gets ratcheted up even more.”

Commissioner David Stern disagrees with the assessment saying during a radio interview he stated that the injuries and the tight regular season were unrelated.

“I don’t think it’s related at all,” Stern said. “When anything happens, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Printed on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 as: Compact schedule could be to blame for playoff injuries