Report: Knicks, Chandler close to deal

The New York Knicks are close to a deal to acquire free agent center Tyson Chandler, the New York Post reported Thursday.

Chandler, 29, is nearing an agreement with the Knicks on a four-year, $58 million deal, according to Yahoo! Sports.

In order to acquire the 7-foot-1 Chandler, the Knicks must also shed the $14.2 million salary of point guard Chauncey Billups, who has stated he does not want to leave the team.

The Knicks could either release Billups through the amnesty clause in the new collective bargaining agreement, or work out a trade.

Billups’ agent, however, quickly objected to the possibility of the Knicks using the amnesty clause, which would mean any team under the salary cap could claim the 35-year-old off waivers.

"He’s irate under the circumstances," agent Andy Miller told Yahoo! Sports. "He felt this would be his final destination, and he was promised that he would be playing for a team that was going to be competing for the playoffs. He has no intention of being open-minded about any possible situation where a team would claim him off waivers, unless it’s a team he chooses himself. Buyer beware."

Chandler, who was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team last season, averaged 10 points, nine rebounds and one block for the champion Mavericks. Chandler and Nene are considered the top two free-agent centers on the market.

The acquisition of Chandler, coupled with the existing contracts of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, would leave the Knicks with no space to sign star point guard Chris Paul as a free agent after next season.

The New Orleans Hornets are engaged in trade talks with several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, on a deal for Paul.