5 NBA Teams That Should Target a Tyson Chandler Trade
While it's tough to predict what situation the New York Knicks will be in before Carmelo Anthony makes his decision in free agency, the Knicks might want to consider flipping Tyson Chandler for assets that will be useful beyond the 2014-15 season.
Chandler is certainly the defensive anchor for the Knicks, but his injury troubles and declining play have led him to be incapable of carrying such bad personnel for an entire season anymore.
With the Knicks lacking the cap space to really contend next year, whether Anthony comes back or not, moving Chandler's expiring deal for a draft pick or a productive player on a rookie-scale salary makes sense.
Which teams might be interested in Chandler? Marc Stein at ESPN.com tipped us off to one potential suitor:
The most interesting whisper, at this early stage, is that the Mavs intend to be at the front of the line to try to reacquire Tyson Chandler should the Knicks make their defensive anchor available via trade.
What other teams should trade for the 7-foot center? Let's take a look.
If there's one resounding complaint about how the Dallas Mavericks were handled after their championship season, it's that Tyson Chandler wasn't re-signed and allowed to defend the title he had a huge role in winning.
Since Mavericks owner Mark Cuban decided that the cap space to attract another star was more important, the Mavericks have had a rough time at the center position, rotating in a bunch of players who just haven't been able to cut it.
Back in 2012, Cuban was defiant about the reasons why Chandler wasn't re-signed. Here's what he told Jeff Caplan and Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas when asked if he had any regrets:
"Oh, hell no. No, no, no, nope," Cuban said when asked if he has second-guessed himself. "Not even a millisecond. Because those that are talking otherwise haven't read the CBA, like I know you guys haven't, and are just talking out their ass without any foundation."
While Chandler is a little less mobile and durable than he was back in the 2010-11 season, he still represents a massive upgrade over Samuel Dalembert, Brandan Wright and DeJuan Blair and a chance for Cuban to make up for perhaps his biggest mistake. The Mavs need someone focused on protecting the rim who can finish on the pick-and-roll, and that's Chandler's specialty. He's already shown that he's a perfect match for Dirk Nowitzki in the frontcourt.
How would a reunion come about? Once again, it appears like the Mavericks are ready to chase the big free agents this offseason after Dirk Nowitzki re-signs.
If it doesn't work out as planned, taking on Chandler's expiring deal worth $14 million via the available cap space and parting with a draft pick or a young player (like point guard Shane Larkin) may interest New York if it's ready to accept this will be a lost year with or without Chandler.
This may seem like an odd pairing as the Phoenix Suns have clearly skewed young, but Tyson Chandler could be the type of veteran addition that solidifies the defense in the middle while providing solid screens on the other end for the "slash brothers," Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.
Phoenix's young depth may actually be all the more reason to take a chance on Chandler. With Miles Plumlee and Alex Len needing some playing time, Chandler can play more in the range of 25-30 minutes a night and take days off where needed. Pairing up with Phoenix's renowned training staff might not be a bad idea either.
The Suns have plenty of young talent and draft picks to offer up in exchange for Chandler early this offseason, if he's viewed as a viable piece to get the Suns into the Western Conference mix.
This seems like a pairing that might make more sense at the trade deadline next season, as Phoenix will have a better view of where its young big men are in terms of development and how Chandler's body is holding up. The price may be significantly less at that point as well.
It may not be ideal for Tyson Chandler to jump from one relatively dysfunctional organization to another, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown recently that winning now is a priority and sacrificing future assets for rentals isn't out of the question.
While it's possible that Cleveland might be scared off from such a deal if Luol Deng does in fact end up leaving in free agency this offseason, it seems likely that the Cavs will need a reliable big man defensively at some point.
Anderson Varejao is very good in that regard, even if his value is more as a pick-and-roll defender than a true rim protector. The problem with Varejao is that he's an even bigger health risk than Chandler is, so it's not hard to imagine a scenario where the Cavs are playing multiple games next year with a starting center that's backup quality.
Tyler Zeller can play a little bit, and Varejao is great when he's at full strength, but rolling the dice on Chandler via trade would be a lot like the Andrew Bynum signing last offseason, save for Chandler actually enjoying basketball and providing some actual value. It's a risk, but based on recent history, Chandler fits the profile for the type of player Cleveland might be willing to gamble on.
Whether Chandler is pursued or not should tell us a lot about Cleveland's new regime.
Los Angeles Lakers
This potential pairing is more about need than anything else. As it stands right now, the Los Angeles Lakers have only one true big man on contract, and that's Robert Sacre. And that's a problem.
While it seems incredibly unlikely that the Lakers would be willing to sacrifice significant future assets to get Chandler, if the price is cheap enough it could be a good fit. Chandler's expiring deal would allow the Lakers to retain cap space for the 2015 offseason, which appears to be the plan at this current stage.
Chandler isn't just a cap number, though. He's a productive player when he's healthy, and he's the type of center that would fit nicely next to Kobe Bryant. Almost all of Chandler's offensive chances come off assists or offensive rebounds, so there wouldn't be any issues about sharing the load. This is a good fit in terms of personality as well, as the Lakers could use some toughness up front.
The Lakers are going to need some serious help on the defensive end if Steve Nash comes back and Bryant plays big minutes, and a veteran like Chandler can help in that regard, even if he can't nearly do it all on his own.
It's hard to see what the Lakers would have that the Knicks would want, but you can certainly see why the Lakers would be interested.
The Boston Celtics are another team with an uncertain future. It's hard to tell who is going and who is staying out of the players currently on the roster, but like the Lakers, the need for a center is definitely there.
Unlike the Lakers, however, the Celtics actually have assets to offer up. With plenty of draft picks as well as players on established deals, the Celtics could be a realistic suitor for Chandler, particularly since it wouldn't impede on the 2015 cap space.
If Boston could somehow dump a long-term salary like Jeff Green's and pay New York in draft picks to take it on, maybe this would work.
Would the Knicks be able to move past not getting Rajon Rondo in any deal, though? That might hold up any discussions for Chandler, and the Celtics may be satisfied to punt another season, collect a high draft pick and roll into 2015 in good shape for the future. Chandler doesn't necessarily jeopardize that, but he's not going to be free to acquire.
This could work because Boston needs a center, but both teams are in murky situations that will likely have to be clarified through other means before a logical trade becomes available.