The move was a good one for the Thunder, as they received the big man in exchange for two bench warming veterans.
As most of us know, that trade was later rescinded because of concerns regarding Chandler's toe injury. His stats had dropped that season from the previous one, which furthered worries that the injury could be more long term.
The Thunder finally received their "center of the future" this past season in a deal that saw Kendrick Perkins dealt to OKC along with Nate Robinson. While the deal gave the Thunder the middle presence they had always desired, Perk never really seemed fully healed from a knee injury that had affected him all season.
Perkins caused some commotion in the Western Conference finals when he declared that he and Chandler "never got along." Chandler took the high road and declared that no such bad blood existed.
This begs the question: Who would the Thunder be better off with, Perkins or Chandler?
Here are five reasons why Tyson Chandler would be a better fit with the Oklahoma City Thunder than Kendrick Perkins.
In a league with so many tall, athletic freaks, a few inches can go a long way in being able to defend the league's best.
At 6'10", Kendrick Perkins does have a formidable frame capable of guarding those who may be taller or quicker than he is. He is very thick which prevents other centers/forwards from pushing him around or backing him down in the low-post too easily.
That being said, Tyson Chandler stands in at a mighty 7'1" and is a shot blocking machine. Sure, the Thunder have Serge "Iblocka" as their shot blocking threat at PF, but he is still a bit raw. Imagine if they had 7'1" Chandler guarding the middle with 6'10" Ibaka their to back him up.
While it may seem minuscule, Tyson Chandler's extra couple of inches could play a huge for the Thunder in guarding taller players like Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard.
People forget that both Tyson Chandler and Kendrick Perkins entered the league straight out of high school. Both have been known to have tempers at times which can be good and bad for their respective teams.
Sometimes their rough, physical play can be a lift to their team when in need of a confidence boost or a pick me up. On the other hand, their temper can get out of control and can lead to their teams getting unnecessary technicals or silly fouls.
Much was made about how Oklahoma City needed a physical, "badboy" presence in the middle to give them the toughness they needed to compete out west. Many people believe that Kendrick Perkins fits that missing piece.
A hell-raising defender and good screener, Perk is known for his rough play and "don't back down" image he displayed in Boston for years. He certainly showed it in Oklahoma City this year for the brief time he played with the team.
That being said, he also displayed signs of immaturity at certain times when he picked up useless technicals and/or bad fouls. He also called opposing players out, as was seen in the Western Conference Finals when he stated that "he and Chandler didn't like each other."
Chandler took the high rode in this trash talk skirmish, stating that he had no problem with Perkins and respected the fact that he won a championship in Boston. He also stated that all of the "chippy, after-the-ball stuff" was nonsense that he was not going to get involved in.
It seems like Tyson Chandler has a bit more maturity than Perkins at this stage in their careers. Perkins attitude certainly makes the Thunder tougher, but he must know when to talk and when to stay silent.
Obviously, the only reason that Tyson Chandler is not with the Oklahoma City right now is because of the Thunder's concerns that his toe was not going to heal properly.
Unfortunately for the Thunder, he has come back with a more than stellar year this season with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 10.1 PPG and 9.4 RPG. He has given the Mavs a huge lift on both offense and defense. It is safe to say that his injuries have fully healed.
The same cannot be said for Kendrick Perkins. Perk suffered a torn ACL that limited his play during this past season. To add onto that, Perkins also suffered a sprained left knee in his final game with Boston that pushed back his debut with the Thunder three weeks.
Sure, Perkins injury could very well heal up perfectly and he could come back 100% next season for the Thunder. This would be a huge lift not only for the team, but for the confidence of the battered veteran. He was clearly not himself in the 2011 playoffs and it affected his ability to defend.
At this point in their careers though, Chandler seems to be over his injuries while Perkins is still dealing with his knee troubles. It remains to be seen if Perk can fully heal up to make the Thunder real championship contenders.
Anyone who does not notice the difference in athleticism between Tyson Chandler and Kendrick Perkins either does not watch basketball or is blind.
All you have to do is take a look at the Western Conference Finals to see the difference in athletic ability and speed. Kendrick Perkins was simply too slow to guard the quicker, more athletic center in Chandler. Perk would always be a step too late which would force others to come over to help, inevitably leaving one of the Mavs guards or forwards open.
Their difference in speed was also shown each time they went up and down the floor. Perkins literally looked like he was about to collapse each time teams switched possessions. His speed was somewhere between a slug and a tortoise. Chandler, on the other hand, showed decent speed for a 7'1" big man.
On a brief side note, their dunking abilities have also shown the difference in athleticism. Chandler has had several monster dunks during these playoffs, including a couple of monster alley oops from future hall-of-fame PG Jason Kidd.
Perk has had several opportunities for dunks, but on a couple of occasions, has simply failed to reach the basket. In essence, he was blocked by the rim. Can you say embarrassing? This will likely change if/when he heals.
Perhaps the greatest difference between Tyson Chandler and Kendrick Perkins is their offensive output.
Kendrick Perkins might very well be the worst offensive player in the entire league. One can hear a collective gasp in Oklahoma City Arena when he touches the ball and it appears that he is going to try to take it to the hole.
He travels almost every other possession and bricks about half the time he is able to get off a shot. His free throw shooting is atrocious (53 percent this past season) when he manages to make it to the line. That being said, he is known for setting very tough screens that allow his teammates to get open.
While Tyson Chandler isn't that much different, he is an improvement from Perkins on offense. He has much better hands than Perkins and is a dunking threat on the pick-and-roll. Sure, his numbers have been helped tremendously by pass-happy Jason Kidd, but he could be receiving the same alley-oops from Russell Westbrook or Eric Maynor.
All in all, their offensive numbers this past season are quite different. Perk had 5.1 PPG for Boston/OKC while Chandler averaged 10.1 PPG for Dallas. That being said, Perkins was not 100% healthy and only played 17 games this past season while Chandler played in 74 so the numbers are a little misrepresented.
However, the Thunder need to think about starting James Harden this next season to give them a third option. Thabo Sefolosha is known for being another non-shooting defensive specialist, albeit as a shooting guard. Having two defensive specialists severely limits the Thunder on offense so Harden could help this problem.