Last season, Wilson Chandler shot 26.7 percent from three and while he was a nice young player he was expendable as part of the Knicks future.
No more. Chandler has worked on his shot, found a sweet spot in the left corner and this season is shooting 38.6 percent from three. In a Knicks attack that relies heavily on guys draining the long ball, Chandler has become the most consistent of the Knicks shooters (he has a higher percentage from three than Raymond Felton or Danilo Gallinari this season). Chandler is averaging 17.9 points per game, trailing only Felton and Stoudemire.
Because of that, Knicks GM Donnie Walsh is not going to let him go this summer when Chandler becomes a restricted free agent, he told the New York Post.
“Wilson’s a restricted free agent and I’m going to sign him,” Walsh said yesterday. “He’s a helluva player.”
Exactly what kind of deal the Knicks can work out with Chandler remains to be seen. First, there is the little matter of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and what it allows — if teams can no longer go over the cap to re-sign their own players (the Bird rule) that will make things more difficult.
Then there is the question of what Chandler is worth. Certainly he will get a healthy raise over the $2.1 million he is making this year on his rookie deal; but how to fit in a salary that is three or four times higher than what he makes now and blend that with the Knicks plans to bring in other stars is not simple. Walsh has some challenges ahead.
But he sounds sure about one thing — he wants Chandler back in New York.