Center – Dallas Mavericks – 7’1″, 235 lbs
Chandler is your prototypical role-playing center. He is definitely more athletic than the average center which enables him to move up and down the floor well. Because of his size, he rebounds like a champ and plays above average defense. He shoots a high field goal percentage; almost all of his shots are close to the basket.
To say Chandler is “offensively limited” would be generous; he doesn’t have great on the block moves, and he has no shot outside the paint. In the past, he’s been a bit prone to injury, and as he gets older I can’t imagine his durability will improve. Age-wise he’s only 29, but after ten years in the league, his career lifetime minutes are starting to accumulate.
What He’ll Cost
There really is no telling what he’ll actually cost. Teams with different financial flexibility will be able to offer varying contracts. What he’s WORTH is about or a little above the mid-level exception which is now about five million dollars. But don’t be shocked if a team that misses on David West or Nene Hilario overpays Chandler to add some size.
Three Potential Fits
There is already reportedly mutual interest between the sides. Not only did the vacancy for a tall center never get filled with Yao Ming’s departure, but the Rockets could be about to lose Chuck Hayes as well. Houston has a little bit of money to spend, not a whole lot; but Chandler figures to be a pretty good fit.
New Jersey Nets
This is an interesting one because the Nets have a pretty good young center in Brooke Lopez. Chandler would have to be the backup. It’s also intriguing because New Jersey could be trying to sign contracts to make a move on Dwight Howard via trade. A package centered around Brook Lopez and Tyson Chandler for Howard would have to be pretty damn intriguing for Orlando. And a Deron Williams/Dwight Howard combo in Jersey would put the Nets right up there in the Atlantic with Boston and New York.
It seems like Dallas should do whatever it takes to keep this championship team together. After all, Chandler is their best rebounder and post defender. But since he’s also one of the better players available in this free agency period, he’s going to garner a lot of interest from other teams. Early reports are that Dallas has fallen short of what Chandler expects for compensation. The sides could re-open negotiations, but right now it looks like he is prepared to walk.
My gut tells me he ends up in Houston. I can’t see a real need for New Jersey to sign him. The way I figure it, Chandler has to be considering New Jersey for the money. It doesn’t make sense to take short money while leaving a contender for a team that won’t get higher than 3rd place in the Atlantic Division. And if he’s actually willing to take short money, and it sounds like he’s not, he’d probably just stay in Dallas or jump to another contender like Chicago, Miami, or Boston. So if he’s actually considering New Jersey, they have to be offering him starter’s money. Which makes no sense with Brook Lopez already in house. So basically, either New Jersey is really bad with money management, or they’re trying to acquire trade tools for D12. I think it’s the latter, and I think eventually Chandler and/or his agent will figure that out. That’s why to me, Houston seems to be the choice. If they can find a way to finance his contract (maybe sign and trade), he’ll start right away, and have a solid teammate core with Luis Scola and Kevin Martin to play with.