The Knicks got rid of a lot of dead weight on their 2014-15 roster Wednesday — $18.8 million to be exact.
According to multiple reports, New York traded center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to the Mavericks in exchange for point guard Shane Larkin, center Samuel Dalembert, point guard Jose Calderon, shooting guard Wayne Ellington and the No. 34 and No. 51 picks in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. They had no picks previously.
While the move does add four players, even more important to the deal is the salary cap relief for the Knicks. The team had little to no flexibility next season with Chandler set to make $14.5 million and Felton making $4.3 million. Felton, who pled guilty to gun possession charges this week to avoid jail time, also had a player option for the following season — making his exit even more important than Chandler’s expiring deal.
Star forward Carmelo Anthony opted out of the final year of his deal last weekend to explore free agency and it’s likely a return would be based on new president Phil Jackson improving the roster. The Knicks may not hold on to all the players acquired from Dallas, but even if they do they will have saved about $3 million in the trade. Dalembert and Calderon will make $11 million between them in 2014-15.
Though, with Anthony opting out and two other starters being traded Wednesday, the Knicks as they are currently constituted are a shell of a team. The only players from last season who are under contract this fall are J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Pablo Prigioni.
The Knicks are still likely to be over the cap and won’t unable to sign any major free agents, such as LeBron James or Lance Stephenson.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.