It was the big story yesterday — until Chris Paul was traded then untraded — and it will shake up the Eastern Conference.
And it is happening — the New York Knicks will sign Tyson Chandler today tweets Howard Beck at the New York Times. The Knicks will use the amnesty clause on Chauncey Billups and will trade Ronny Turiaf to create cap space to sign Chandler. The Turiaf trade is still pending — there are multiple offers out there and all sides (including Turiaf’s agent) expect a deal to get done soon.
This will bring one of the two best defensive centers in the NBA (along with Dwight Howard) to the Knicks, protecting the rim behind Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Also, it gives the Knicks some interesting half-court offensive options as Chandler is a good big on the high pick-and-roll (just ask Chris Paul).
With Chandler, the Knicks are knocking on the door of the Heat and Bulls atop the East (although they still need a point guard and depth to be a real threat for a ring).
It also leaves Billups in limbo. He will enter a secondary waiver market where teams below the cap can bid on taking over a portion of his contract (one year, $14 million). To use a hypothetical, the Sacramento Kings could bid $1 million and if they win get Billups for the season at that price (the Knicks would pay the rest of his salary, it just wouldn’t count against their official books).
Billups agent has already warned teams not to bid on Billups, that he would just walk away before he would play somewhere he doesn’t want to be. Smart money suggests that he will land in his home town of Denver or with the Miami Heat this season.