Tyson Chandler

Western Notes: Daniels, Booker, Nuggets, Paul

Shooting guard Troy Daniels is one of the players the Suns could move before the trade deadline, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Daniels is averaging 8.3 PPG off the bench this season while shooting 42.5% from long range. He is signed through next season for a very affordable $3.25MM but if rookie Davon Reed comes on strong this month, Daniels becomes expendable, Bordow continues. Veterans Tyson Chandler, Greg Monroe and Jared Dudley could also be moved during the next five weeks, Bordow adds.

In other Western Conference developments:

  • The Suns have been using Devin Booker at the point during crunch times situations, Bordow notes in the same piece. Interim coach Jay Triano believes Booker could eventually become a playmaker in the mold of James Harden.
  • A friendly schedule could boost the Nuggets over the two next months, as Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website points out. They play 17 of their next 25 games at home, where they have gone 12-4 this season. “Hopefully we can use January, which is a lot of home games, to kind of build and get ahead and not be two games over .500,” coach Michael Malone told Dempsey. “I’m pretty satisfied with where we are, but we have a lot of work to do.”
  • Gerald Green was surprised how much he was able to contribute after signing a non-guaranteed contract with the Rockets last week, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Green scored 18 points in 27 minutes off the bench on Friday in Washington, his first NBA game since a preseason stint with the Bucks. “I am very surprised about my wind,” he told Feigen. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m actually happy with myself about the work I’ve been putting in. That’s really been paying off.”

Suns GM Not Expecting Another Major Trade

The deal that sent Eric Bledsoe from Phoenix to Milwaukee in November may go down as one of the biggest in-season trades of 2017/18, but the Suns are unlikely to make another splash before the deadline, according to general manager Ryan McDonough. As Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic details, McDonough downplayed the idea of his team completing a major trade by February 8.

“If we do make a move, it will be positionally to fill a short-term need,” McDonough said. “There’s nobody we can sign or trade for that’s going to come close to replicating half of Devin Booker’s production. Nobody out there is 22 years old and like Davon Reed, who we’re really high on. So we’re most excited about getting those guys back [from injuries].”

Trading a veteran player like Tyson Chandler or Jared Dudley would make sense for a rebuilding team like the Suns. However, McDonough values the leadership those players bring to the locker room, suggesting that even in the midst of a rebuild, “you want to keep at least a few good vets around and we’re happy with those guys.”

Chandler is one of three solid centers on the Suns’ roster, and has been competing for playing time with Greg Monroe and Alex Len. Since Phoenix acquired Monroe, there has been a belief that McDonough would like to move one of those three centers, but the GM wouldn’t even concede that the team wants to clear that logjam. As Bordow writes, McDonough noted that the Suns don’t want to be shorthanded if they trade a center and then one of their remaining two gets hurt.

“I get that it’s a challenge for Coach [Jay] Triano and his staff [to find minutes for all three], but at the same time that’s what good teams do,” McDonough said. “They have depth and balance and manage the minutes and manage the situation even if it’s not perfect for anybody involved.”

If the Suns do make a trade in advance of the deadline, it’s “probably” safe to assume that it won’t come at the expense of minutes for their young players, per McDonough.

Western Notes: Len, Gobert, Leonard, Rockets

Alex Len has become the odd man out in the Suns’ center rotation and he cannot hide his displeasure, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic reports. Len signed a one-year, $4.2MM qualifying offer with Phoenix after failing to receive an offer sheet that he found acceptable as a restricted free agent over the summer. Len has not played in two of the three last games, as interim coach Jay Triano has decided to ride veterans Tyson Chandler and recently-acquired Greg Monroe“I put in the work hoping to show my skills on the court,” Len told Bordow. “So when you’re not able to help your team, it’s frustrating.” Len’s lack of playing time won’t help his cause when he enters the market again next summer, this time as an unrestricted free agent.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert is participating in on-court individual drills at practice, Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News tweets. This could be a sign that Gobert, who is recovering from a right knee injury, will return to action sooner than the four- to six-week timetable given on November 12th. Gobert injured the knee in a collision with Heat guard Dion Waiters.
  • Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard is making significant progress from the right quadriceps tendinopathy that has kept him out of action all season, coach Gregg Popovich told Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News and other media members. Popovich, who jokingly scoffed at “Doctor” Tony Parker‘s estimation that Leonard could return in two or three weeks, said Leonard would soon participate in 5-on-5 practice drills. “He’s getting very close and making progress,” Popovich said. “He’s having contact now and hopefully we will get him back shortly.”
  • The Rockets are not experiencing chemistry issues because the veterans they acquired know how to blend in, according to Hunter Atkins of The Houston Chronicle. Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute know what it takes to work well with others and it shows now that the team is playing at full strength, Atkins adds.

Suns Notes: Bledsoe, McDonough, Centers

Eric Bledsoe will return to Phoenix on Wednesday for the first time since the team traded him to the Bucks, but the point guard is downplaying the events, calling it “just another game.”

“It’s just another game,” Bledsoe said (via ESPN’s Nick Friedell). “Another game we just got to win. We got to win this game, get above .500, build off that.”

Bledsoe wouldn’t comment on the “hair salon” incident or on Suns‘ management when asked if he wished either party had handled things differently leading up to his departure.

“I’m at this point now,” Bledsoe said. “I’m on another team focused on what we can build here. So I ain’t focused on that.”

Here’s more from Phoenix:

  • The Suns waited too long to trade Bledsoe, RealGM’s Danny Leroux contends, suggesting that the team should have dealt him before last season’s trade deadline. The scribe argues that the number of teams in playoff contention at the time, combined with Bledsoe’s age and reasonable contract, made February 2017 the right time to move him.
  • Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic believes that GM Ryan McDonough can turn things around for the franchise, though it will take some time. The Suns are expected to be one of only a few teams with substantial cap room this summer and while Moore is hopeful that someone like LeBron James or DeMarcus Cousins decides to come to the team, he envisions Phoenix landing a player in the tier below them. He names DeAndre Jordan, Aaron Gordon, and Marcus Smart as possibilities.
  • Tyson Chandler is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday after missing the last three games with an illness, Moore writes in a separate piece. Coach Jay Triano said he isn’t sure how he’ll handle the center rotation, with Greg Monroe, Alex Len and Chandler all vying for minutes. “I haven’t even thought about it,” Triano said. “I’ve got a couple of days to figure out the rotations.”
  • The Northern Arizona Suns, the team’s G League affiliate, have added Earl Barron and Nick Friedman as assistant coaches, Chris Reichert of The Step Back reports (Twitter link). The club has also promoted Tyler Gatlin to associate head coach.

Standard NBA Deal Expected For Mike James

Perhaps one of the more surprising stories to come out of the 2017/18 NBA season so far is the play of Suns‘ rookie point guard Mike James.

James is currently averaging 11.4 PPG and 4.0 APG, good enough for top-10 spots in both categories among all rookies. And, according to Scott Bordow of AZCentral.com, James’ play has not been lost on general manager Ryan McDonough, who plans to sign James to a standard NBA contract before he reaches the 45-day NBA limit on his two-way contract on December 6.

Before signing James, however, the Suns will need to create an open roster spot, as they already have 15 players under contract. Bordow opines that in order to do so, the Suns will likely look to move on from one of their three centers – Tyson ChandlerAlex Len, or recently acquired Greg Monroe.

Out of the three, Monroe is probably the likeliest candidate to be moved. He is on an expiring contract and the Suns have already been reported as exploring the trade market for the 27 year-old. Len is also on an expiring contract after signing a qualifying offer in the offseason, but he has the ability to veto trades, and Chandler still has two years and $26.6MM remaining on the contract he signed back in 2015.

If the Suns can’t find a trade within the next couple weeks and need to waive a player to make room for James, Derrick Jones‘ roster spot could be in jeopardy, since he’s the only Sun without a fully guaranteed 2017/18 salary.

Suns Notes: Chandler, Triano, Monroe, Jones

In the wake of Eric Bledsoe‘s now-infamous “I don’t wanna be here” tweet on the first weekend of the 2017/18 season, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough received a call from Jeff Schwartz, Tyson Chandler‘s agent, and admitted to ESPN’s Zach Lowe that he was expecting the worst when he got that voicemail.

“Given the way our season had started, it wouldn’t have been shocking if Tyson wanted to be moved,” McDonough said.

However, Schwartz expressed the opposite sentiment, assuring McDonough that his client was “fine” and enjoys mentoring the young players in Phoenix. “It was a breath of fresh air,” the Suns GM said. Chandler remains a trade candidate, since he probably doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans, but unlike Bledsoe, he’s in no rush to leave.

Lowe’s deep dive into the Suns – which is worth checking out in full – includes several more tidbits out of Phoenix, including some details on the changes that Jay Triano has made since replacing Earl Watson. Triano, who has been focused on accountability, has impressed the Suns so far and has a chance to earn the head coaching job on a permanent basis, per McDonough.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic passes along more comments from McDonough, who said after Tuesday’s Bledsoe trade that the move could speed up the team’s timeline. As Bordow details, even though McDonough suggested that Phoenix has the flexibility to make a major roster addition in 2018, he said multiple times that the club is “more likely” to pursue a top free agent in 2019.
  • Within Bordow’s piece, McDonough also talks about the newest Sun, Greg Monroe, indicating that he’s open to a trade but that a buyout is less likely. The Suns GM intends to discuss all the possibilities with Monroe’s agent, David Falk.
  • The Suns’ vice president of basketball operations, James Jones, is taking many of the lessons he learned during his years as a player in Miami and applying them to his new job in Phoenix, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Trade Notes: Suns, Bucks, Bledsoe, Monroe, Okafor

Major early-November NBA trades are rare, but the Suns and Bucks are on the verge of completing one, having agreed in principle to a trade that will send Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee. Greg Monroe is heading to Phoenix as part of that deal, along with the Bucks’ 2018 first-round pick and 2018 second-round pick.

Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times (Twitter link) expressed some surprised that Tyson Chandler wasn’t involved in the trade, since he’s a good friend of Jason Kidd, who has wanted Chandler on his roster in the past. However, Chandler is earning $13MM and is under contract next year as well, so the Bucks would have had to add another substantial salary to the deal to make that happen.

Meanwhile, Chris Haynes of ESPN observes (via Twitter) that the Suns finalized the agreement just when Bledsoe was about to return to the club’s facility to work out, which was either a fortuitous coincidence or a sign that the team really had no interest in having him around.

Here’s more on the Bledsoe trade:

  • Monroe and his $17MM+ contract appear to be functioning primarily as salary filler to complete this deal, but the Suns have yet to decide whether to keep, trade, or release him, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. If Phoenix buys out Monroe, the big man would be an “obvious candidate” to sign with the Celtics or Thunder, says Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (Twitter link).
  • After trading Monroe, the Bucks look like a match made in heaven for Jahlil Okafor, argues Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.
  • While Bledsoe didn’t have a strong preference for where he ended up, Milwaukee was at the top of his wish list, according to Gambadoro, who says the point guard is looking forward to playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo (Twitter links).
  • Because today’s trade is a one-for-one swap in terms of players, the Suns will still have to open up a roster spot within the next month in order to convert Mike James‘ two-way contract to a standard NBA deal, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • The acquisition of Bledsoe doesn’t come without a good deal of risk for the Bucks, given the point guard’s injury history, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

Pacific Notes: Russell, Teodosic, Randle

After spending his first two seasons with the Lakers, D’Angelo Russell will face them as a member of the Nets tonight. As Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes, Los Angeles him expects him to be fired up in his return to the Staples Center.

You see him right now in Brooklyn, he’s cooking,” former Lakers teammate Jordan Clarkson said. “He’s balling. … He’s got a new home, feel like it’s the right fit for him. He’s able to create, score, have the ball in his hands a lot, play the style of play that he wants to.

In seven games with the Nets this year, the Lakers’ second-overall pick in 2015 has averaged 21.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. Those numbers are up from his sophomore figures of 15.6 and 4.8, despite playing over two minutes less per contest thus far in 2017/18.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Injured guard Milos Teodosic has shown progress in his recovery from a plantar fascia injury in his left foot but there’s still no timetable for his return. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Clippers rookie is now getting around in a walking boot, whereas previously he was confined to a scooter.
  • As we wrote about earlier today, Larry Nance Jr. will miss four to six weeks undergoing surgery for a hand fracture. That could spell a big opportunity for Julius Randle, the forward slotted behind him in the depth chart. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Randle’s role change could be particularly significant considering that the pending restricted free agent’s qualifying offer amount could increase if Randle starts at least nine games this season.
  • Don’t expect 17-year veteran Tyson Chandler to demand a trade out of Phoenix, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes in an excellent feature. The 35-year-old Suns big man may be on a different timeline than the rest of the franchise but doesn’t plan on forcing his way out of town. He spoke about teammate Eric Bledsoe who, well, has. “I’m not surprised about that. I kind of saw that stuff coming,” Chandler said. “He’s in a different place than I’m in. He’s in the prime of his career. Everything that happened last season and then rolling over into the summer, of course, I felt like it could’ve been handled differently. But I understand his stance and I understand it’s his career. He’s got to eat. He ultimately has to make his own decisions, as a man.”

Western Rumors: Len, Ball, Mavs, Benson

Suns center Alex Len didn’t receive an offer sheet as a restricted free agent this summer but he’s pumping up his value during the early going, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Len is averaging 10.2 PPG and 8.4 RPG and one scout told Bordow that Len could receive a four-year deal worth up to $15MM per season if he continues his strong play. Len signed his qualifying offer of $4.2MM in late September after his unsuccessful foray into restricted free agency.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball told reporters that as a floor leader he prefers “to take the blame when we lose,” Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. Ball committed five turnovers in a loss to the Jazz on Saturday. Ball also believes he needs to push the ball more efficiently, Youngmisuk adds. “More pace, run on makes — I feel like we are kind of walking up the ball too much,” Ball said. “And that is obviously my fault because I am the point guard so just got to push the pace a little better.”
  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is considering lineup changes after his team got off to a 1-6 start, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. “We’re looking at things all the time,” Carlisle told Sefko and other reporters.“If you’re asking about a change to the starting lineup or rotation, any and everything is in play at this point.”
  • Pelicans and Saints owner Tom Benson was hospitalized Sunday night but is expected to return to his office by the end of the week, according to a statement released by a Saints spokesman. Benson felt weakness while attending the Saints game on Sunday, Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
  • Tyson Chandler shrugs off the rumors that the Suns are trying to deal him, Bordow reports. The team is reportedly trying to package him in any deal involving disgruntled point man Eric Bledsoe. “Just like everybody else, I hear the rumblings,” he said. “I hear my name being involved in things and trade rumors but I’m at the point where I couldn’t care less.”

Suns Explore Trading Chandler With Bledsoe

As they continue to seek out a viable trade involving disgruntled point guard Eric Bledsoe, the Suns are exploring ways to include Tyson Chandler in the same deal, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter).

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders first reported earlier this week that the Suns appeared to be looking for deals involving Chandler. Kyler, who noted that both Chandler and Bledsoe were favorites of former head coach Earl Watson, wrote in his report that the “ideal scenario” for Phoenix would be to move the duo in the same trade.

Taking into account the stage the Suns are at in their rebuilding phase, it certainly makes sense to explore trading Chandler — at 35 years old, he seems unlikely to be part of the next contending team in Phoenix.

Still, it may be tricky for the Suns to attach Chandler to Bledsoe in a single trade. The two players are earning a combined $27.5MM this season, and most of Phoenix’s potential trade partners will have little interest in taking on extra money in a deal. That would mean finding a Bledsoe suitor with at least $27.5MM in salaries of their own to trade back to the Suns.

The Bucks, frequently cited as a team with interest in Bledsoe, may be the most logical match for a deal involving both players. Possible trade candidates on their roster include John Henson ($11.4MM), Mirza Teletovic ($10MM), Matthew Dellavedova ($9.6MM), and possibly even Greg Monroe ($17.9MM), so they could potentially figure out a package that lands them both Bledsoe and Chandler without pushing them into luxury tax territory. It’s not clear if the two teams are exploring that scenario though.

Like Bledsoe, Chandler has one additional guaranteed year on his contract beyond 2017/18. Both players will come off the books in the summer of 2019.

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