Wilson Chandler is making the smart move to test free agency rather than re-sign with the Denver Nuggets, who, according to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, have made it clear that a long-term contract is what they want from the star forward.
Correction there: Wilson's hand has been forced, as Denver wants long-term deal or nothing, according to his agent.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2012
Returning to the Nuggets isn't a good idea for Chandler because he would have a difficult time earning a lot of minutes on a Denver team with several quality forwards.
If Chandler were to come back to the Nuggets, he would have to battle Danilo Gallinari, Al Harrington, Corey Brewer and rookies Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton for playing time at the forward spots. With so much depth in the frontcourt, Chandler is better off joining a team where he has a chance to play more minutes, or even better, be a starter.
Chandler's versatility and all-around skill set will make him a highly coveted free agent that several contending teams should make a strong effort to sign. He can score, defend and even handle the ball well.
Playoff-caliber teams such as the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls could all use Chandler's combination of scoring and consistently good defense.
However, in a story by Amick on Wednesday, he reports that Chandler met with the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday and that they are a possible destination for him.
If Chandler doesn't sign an offer sheet with a team by March 1, then he has the option of playing for the Nuggets or no one.
He has until March 1 to sign an offer sheet with another team, then either join that club or return to the Nuggets if they match the offer. After March 1, Chandler can't sign with any team but Denver for the remainder of the season. And because the Nuggets aren't showing interest in that option, he could then be left to sit out the rest of the season and be a restricted free agent again in July.
It will be interesting to see if Chandler receives an offer sheet from some contending teams, and if the Nuggets match those offers if they are for one-year deals.
Chandler is a very good player, but if the Nuggets only want him to sign a long-term contract, then he would be better off finding another team to play for.