Tyson Chandler: 'I'm Not into Wasting Seasons'

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 16, 2014

New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum

New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler is ready to put the disappointing 2013-14 NBA season behind him and never have to revisit it again.

It sounds like he believes that's really his call to make.

"I definitely don't want to waste another season," the big man said, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. "I don't want to waste this season. I'm not into wasting seasons. Your time is too short in this league and I want to win a championship, another one."

The Knicks (36-45) look worlds removed from title contention. It's hard to see that dramatically changing over one offseason, particularly given the constraints new team president Phil Jackson is facing.

New York could have as much as $90.7 million on the books for next season already, via ShamSports.com. The only feasible way for that number to decrease significantly would be if Carmelo Anthony opted out of the last year on his contract and took his talents elsewhere.

Sue Ogrocki

In a superstars league, it's rare that a team moves closer to the championship stage by parting ways with an elite talent.

The Knicks owe their first-round pick to the Denver Nuggets, and their second-round selection belongs to the Houston Rockets. Jackson might have to jump through more than a few hoops to bring any kind of help to the Big Apple.

Of course, on-paper talent has never been New York's issue. In fact, it might be the least of the Knicks' worries.

"On paper we might be the best team, in the league,” Amar'e Stoudemire said, Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. “We’ve got great players on this team who accomplished so much."

The Knicks encountered a lot of worst-case scenario seasons for their core players, Chandler included.

Oct 24, 2012; Uniondale, NY, USA;  New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) is injured during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

He suffered a broken leg in the team's fourth game, an injury that cost him nearly six weeks. Even when he returned to action, he didn't look right. The former Defensive Player of the Year posted a 106 efficiency rating at that side of the floor (via Basketball-Reference), the second-highest mark of his 13-year career.

"It never felt right," Chandler said of the Knicks' season, via Al Iannazzone of Newsday. "In all honesty, it never felt right throughout the season. We had some bright spots but never where we were on the level that we should have been."

With the Empire State's focus now shifted to the offseason, this is Jackson's time to start putting his fingerprints on the franchise. His first priority of business will be deciding the fate of head coach Mike Woodson and potentially finding his replacement.

Chandler may not even be a part of Jackson's summer agenda. The center has one year left on his deal, so he's a Knick until the franchise says otherwise.

"The Knicks have final say on Chandler," Iannazzone wrote. "Trading him could...mean they would have to take back a player with multiple years on his deal, which would impact their 2015 flexibility."

The 2015 free-agent crop is potentially rich, and New York's books could be wiped almost entirely clean by then. The possibility of dealing with a disgruntled Chandler for a season isn't nearly as worrisome as missing out on the opportunity to bring a difference-maker (Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo) into the fold.

The 2014-15 campaign doesn't have to be a wasted season for Chandler and the Knicks. But a return trip to the draft lottery isn't the doomsday scenario for New York that it appears to be for Chandler.