Report: “98% chance” Tyson Chandler becomes a Knick

Update: via Marc Stein:!/ESPNSteinLine/status/144851023213756418

Stein also reports that the Knicks are considering an offer centered around Amare Stoudemire for Chris Paul in the future.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Knicks are preparing a major offer for Dallas free agent center Tyson Chandler, putting them in the lead for his services. Adrian Wojnarowski adds that the Warriors believe they’ve lost Tyson Chandler to New York.

Chandler can only be signed if the Knicks clear cap space, most likely by dealing Ronny Turiaf and removing Chauncey Billups’s contract via amnesty or trade. One such rumor reported by Nick Spano is to move Billups back to Denver to play with the Nuggets, though an amnesty seems more likely.

Signing Chandler would also all but remove New York from the Chris Paul sweepstakes in free agency, and barring a trade involving Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, or Amare Stoudemire, removes them from the trade market for him as well. Paired with the assumed departure of Chauncey Billups, that leaves New York without a starting point guard.

The Nets are a major suitor for Chandler, but if the Knicks are prepared to make a godfather offer for him — somewhere around the maximum — they’re more than willing to take him. I think he fits well in New York, as the Knicks are dying for some defensive help in the frontcourt, and Chandler’s arguably the best defensive center in the league not named Dwight Howard. However, a four-year deal in the $14 million range is far too rich for my liking, and I do wonder how much of Chandler’s defensive value was contingent on Dallas’s system.

Additionally, if the Nuggets do swing a deal for Billups, they may be more hesitant to match offers for restricted free agent Arron Afflalo, who’s at the top of our big board. Nene, the other major free agent out of Denver, is an unrestricted free agent who wasn’t expected back in Denver anyway.

Free agency begins tomorrow.