Los Angeles Lakers center Tyson Chandler said the Lakers and Golden State Warriors were both interested in his services after he was released by the Phoenix Suns this season, per Mike Bresnahan of SportsNet, but Chandler chose the Lakers over the defending champions.
Chandler, 36, has already played a bigger role for the Lakers than he did in Phoenix—and likely would have in Golden State—averaging 3.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 22.7 minutes per game.
Chandler also noted that a total of five teams were vying for his signature before he narrowed it down to the Lakers or Warriors, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
The Warriors often play small and allow Draymond Green to serve as their de facto center, leaving less minutes for traditional centers. Damian Jones, for instance, starts for the team but plays just 16.4 minutes per game.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have continued to start JaVale McGee at center but play him around 25 minutes per game. That left room for another center to earn the rest of the available minutes, and Chandler has stepped into that void and already made a difference.
"He makes us much more consistent," head coach Luke Walton said, per Bill Oram of The Athletic. "We were on our way there but getting someone of Tyson's caliber both on and off the floor really helps."
While McGee remains an excellent shot-blocker, Chandler is a more well-rounded defensive player overall and offers the team a steadying presence off the bench.
"He's huge," James noted. "We knew we had a spot that needed some reassurance. And for us to be able to get Tyson in the fashion that we got him and to be able to just implement him in right away and the impact that he's made in what, three games? ... He's great."
For Chandler, meanwhile, the Lakers represent an opportunity to potentially play postseason basketball once again.
"We both want exactly the same thing," Chandler said of pairing with James in Los Angeles, "and that’s to turn this historic franchise that's won throughout the years and get it back to those type of days."