Tyson Chandler overwhelmed during return

Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban, left, and

Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban, left, and head coach Rick Carlisle, right, greet New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler during a ceremony where Chandler was presented with his NBA championship ring. (March 6, 2012) (Credit: AP)

In his return to Dallas, Tyson Chandler was overwhelmed by the crowd's reaction and some things his current coach and former one said about him.

D'Antoni said Chandler is "as good as any center in the league" and added that "his overall play and his intangibles in the locker room, there's nobody better in the game."

After the Mavericks gave Chandler a video tribute, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle referred to him as "a guy that will go down as one of the all-time legendary Maverick players" and presented his championship ring to a standing ovation.

Chandler spent only one season with the Mavericks, but he provided some of the toughness and defense they had been missing. Those same things, along with leadership, are what Chandler brought to the Knicks.

"For Coach to make those kind of statements and then for coach Carlisle to make those kind of statements is very humbling," Chandler said. "I don't think a player could ever try to achieve more. I try to go out and execute what my coach wants me to do and go out there and fight for my teammates.

"I'm always looking at and judging my performance by the way my coach and my teammates feel. For them to say the things they've been saying is very humbling, honestly."

Chandler was happy to have his wife and parents there for his ring ceremony.

Where's Anthony?

Carmelo Anthony was nowhere to be found during the Knicks' loss in Dallas Tuesday and then disappeared quickly afterward. He eventually returned and answered a few questions from the media, escaping a potential firestorm.

There will be others, though. The season is far from over.

When he forced a trade to the Knicks, Anthony had to know that becoming the face of this franchise means that when things go wrong, he's the first to be blamed.

This isn't Denver. There are more voices, more opinions and more fingers here, and many of them have been pointing in Anthony's direction.

This may go against popular opinion, but the Knicks' recent slide is not all Anthony's fault. Jeremy Lin's sudden fall from the top of the basketball world to just another young point guard trying to learn his way around the game is not all Anthony's fault. He's just an easy target.

The Knicks' issues lately involve energy, passion, urgency and defense. They've given up an average of 111.8 points during their four-game losing streak.

"What we have to do is have consistent energy, we have to defend harder and we have to have a desperation about us that we need to get into the playoffs," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Sometimes we focus on things that are not important. Offense is not important because it will come."

D'Antoni is right. Anthony should adjust his game somewhat and be OK with taking fewer shots. He needs to handle things better, be more of a leader when things don't go right.

But the Knicks also need Anthony to be Carmelo Anthony. He's one of the game's best scorers. Why not give him the ball? All teams do it -- Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant, the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, Dallas with Dirk Nowitzki.

Anthony carried the Knicks down the stretch last Sunday in Boston, hitting three straight tough shots to give them the lead in regulation. If the Knicks had fouled a Celtic instead of letting Paul Pierce get a good look at a tying three-pointer, they might have won.

The ball shouldn't stop moving, but it still needs to flow through Anthony.

The bottom line is that offensive chemistry isn't the Knicks' biggest problem. Their recent lack of passion, desperation and defense are bigger concerns.

Trade talk

The trade deadline is Thursday. Here's a look at some teams that could or should make trades.

Nets: They believe they can sign Dwight Howard in free agency so they might not deal for him now. They envision Howard and Brook Lopez up front together. But the Nets want more cap space and would like to get a small forward, perhaps Michael Beasley.

Magic: It's unlikely he will stay. Letting Howard walk for nothing this summer would be a big mistake.

Lakers: Trade talk has affected Pau Gasol and he might be gone by Thursday.

Trail Blazers: They are looking to shake things up, with former Knicks Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton candidates to be dealt.

Warriors: They have assets -- Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis among them -- and believe they can sell Howard on the Bay Area. That's risky.

Rockets: Like the Warriors, they would be willing to take a rental on Howard, as they were last year on Carmelo Anthony. The Rockets want a big man. Gasol and Chris Kaman are possibilities.

Celtics: The Big Three plus Rajon Rondo are on their last legs. Paul Pierce and Rondo are the ones with contracts that Danny Ainge might want to unload.

Mavericks: The Mavs are expected to try to free up more salary to have as much as possible to give Deron Williams this summer.

Bucks: Teams are calling about Andrew Bogut, and Milwaukee is listening.

Cavaliers: They have the room to take back salaries and have some players teams want, such as Ramon Sessions.

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@Al_Iannazzone

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