Dirk Nowitzki Tyson Chandler
The signing of Tyson Chandler, pictured right, is a much-needed smart move by the New York Knicks. Reuters

In a shocking turn of events, the New York Knicks are actually making what appears to be a very smart basketball decision.

The Knicks are on the verge of adding Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler for a reported four-year, $58 million contract that gives them one of the strongest frontcourts in the NBA.

The addition of Chandler, which should become official at some point on Saturday, allows for Amare Stoudemire to shift over to his more natural power forward position.

Chandler was an important cog in the Mavericks' championship team this past year and offers the defensive toughness that the Knicks sorely lack. Stoudemire has always tried his best defensively, but his efforts couldn't make up for the lack of defense consistently shown by star small forward Carmelo Anthony.

Simply adding Chandler isn't what should get Knicks fans so excited, though. Chandler is a great player and one that a lot of teams wanted, including local rival New Jersey.

No, it was the fact that the Knicks eschewed the possibility of a superstar by taking a relatively sure thing.

The Knicks could have waited until 2012 and possibly signed New Orleans Hornet point guard Chris Paul, New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, or Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

All three are considerably better known than Chandler and would add that star appeal that seems to be so appreciated in the Big Apple.

But we've been down that road before with the Knicks.

For the past decade and a half, the Knicks have been in a perpetual process of trying to cut salaries for an opportunity to sign a superstar in the summer, but they have failed at almost every opportunity.

There was the pursuit of Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan in 2000 that netted them nothing.

There was bizarre talk of trying to sign Kobe Bryant to a mid-level exception at one point, which obviously didn't work out.

And of course there was this past summer when the Knicks managed to sign Stoudemire but struck out on its dream of adding either Lebron James or Dwyane Wade.

For more than two years leading up to the 2010 summer, Knicks management maneuvered to give the team an opportunity to sign James. Former Knicks executive Donnie Walsh essentially sacrificed two seasons for a chance to convince James to leave Cleveland to play in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.

James did eventually leave Cleveland -- to take his talents to Miami -- while the Knicks' incredibly loyal contingent of fans was left disappointed once again.

Stoudemire was a great addition for the organization, but fans badly wanted more because of all the hype and months of anxiously talking about the possibility of Lebron James wearing a Knicks jersey.

The Knicks organization could have gone down that exact same road this season.

It could have built up incredibly unrealistic expectations for its fans by setting itself up to make a push at Paul and Howard this summer.

It easily could have ended with more disappointment, even if the NBA League office has blocked the Chris Paul trade.

Paul appeared headed to the Los Angeles Lakers before David Stern intervened and nixed the trade. The main reasoning behind the move was to protect the Hornets' value -- the franchise is currently owned by the NBA -- but Yahoo Sports reported Friday afternoon that the three teams involved with the deal re-engaged in discussions.

Either the deal could be permanently finished, or further pressure on the NBA for its heavy-handed action will eventually land Paul in a Lakers jersey. By Saturday, it appeared as if the deal was on the verge of happening after the three teams submitted another proposal to the NBA.

Either way, the Knicks could have been left empty-handed again -- much to the fanbase's dismay.

Instead, the Knicks have decided now is the time to strike and make a move at winning the Eastern Conference.

We're going to compete, whoever they put on the schedule for us to play, line them up,'' Carmelo Anthony told reporters on Friday. That's one thing I can say about this season: We will compete at the highest level every game. That's the ultimate goal to win a championship. If I do what I have to do and we do what we have to do, my chances are here.''

For once, the Knicks are putting the emphasis on the now instead of the future.

It's the smartest thing they've done in decades.