With the Knicks standing at just 21-40, frustrations are mounting, leaving players like Carmelo Anthony and company at a loss for words.
One who does not seem like the cat has his tongue, however, is former "Defensive Player of the Year" Tyson Chandler. The center's recent comments reflect and suggest that he may be interested in departing the Big Apple following this rather dismal campaign.
There's only one problem: Chandler is under contract through 2015. What's more, under the new CBA, expiring contracts seem to have even less appeal when it comes to their value in trade negotiations.
The ironic thing is this: Anthony, on the one hand, is having a fantastic individual season. He's one of the best offensive players in the league, but his lack of support across the Knicks' roster has often left the team dead in the water.
On the other hand, New York's lack of defensive intensity has stemmed from Chandler's absent presence this season, be it due to his injuries this season or evident decrease in numbers. Unlike Anthony, the center does not have the right to simply look around at his teammates for answers. Instead, he can look in the mirror. He doesn't have the same impact Anthony has on the games, nor is he having the same impact that he himself has had in the past. He set his own bar high, and now is failing to meet such a standard.
It's impossible to blame Chandler solely for the Knicks' defensive woes. He's one of the team's most talented players. Still, his own lack of assertiveness appears to be contagious across the rest of the roster, much like his increased level of defensive intensity was (in a good way) just a season ago.
The Knicks have been utterly awful this season, and as one of their leaders, such struggles should be reflective upon Chandler. There's no doubt about that, so perhaps he should take a step back and think about it. He has the power to help fix things in a big way….if he wants to.
After seeing how great New York can be, Chandler should choose to channel his energy into figuring out how to get his team back to that level, rather than worrying about whether or not he can force a trade. If he's unhappy. It's easy to understand why Chandler might be unhappy, because so is everyone else at this point. But not many have their fingers on the pulse of the Knicks as heavily as Chandler does.
That said, if the Knicks believe it's convenient to make dramatic changes this offseason, Chandler would prove to be a valuable trade piece. A team has to give up quality talent in order to get it back. If Chandler is frustrated, and eventually checks out so much so that he can no longer help the team, then trading him will prove to be the right move.
But New York should not let Chandler dictate or influence what happens.
In the meantime, however, the center needs to ensure he doesn't allow his emotions to get the best of him. His negative and frustrated demeanor has been evident over the course of this season. Given how influential he is in the locker room, Chandler could ultimately be doing more bad than good for those currently donning orange and blue, regardless of how much he may believe otherwise.
Pep up, Tyson. For all our sakes.