Tyson Chandler

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Durant, Kings, McGee

Before signing with the Lakers as a free agent, veteran center Tyson Chandler registered interest from a handful of teams across the NBA.

Among these teams were the Warriors, according to Jon Becker of The Mercury News, adding that Chandler narrowed his decision down to the Warriors and Lakers. Chandler, an L.A. native, ultimately chose to sign with the Lakers.

“I think it was like five teams, and I narrowed it down to two,” Chandler said this week. “And then I had to do some heavy thinking and praying and then I can only see myself in a Lakers uniform, so it kind of made the decision for me.”

The opportunity to play for his hometown team in Los Angeles with LeBron James was too much to turn away for Chandler, who’s been impressive off the Lakers’ bench so far this season.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explains why Kevin Durant is the NBA’s most powerful person, writing about his altercation with teammate Draymond Green from earlier in the week. Durant, a consensus top-3 player in the NBA, could leave the Warriors as a free agent next July.
  • The Kings received praise from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich this week, with Popovich lauding the organization for improving its culture. “I was really impressed, their culture is changing — it’s changed drastically,” Popovich said, according to James Ham of NBC Sports. “Guys are committed, guys are physical, taking some pride in defense. I think Vlade [Divac] and the team have made some good moves, and I think Dave [Joerger]’s done a great job of bringing that group together. They look really good. It’s impressive.”
  • Tyson Chandler says he signed with the Lakers to complement starting center JaVale McGee, not to compete against him for minutes, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times writes. “It’s not about me and him,” Chandler said, choosing to keep his focus on the overall team goal.

Pacific Notes: Cook, Chandler, Durant, James

Warriors guard Quinn Cook took the place of Stephen Curry against the Nets on Saturday, with Curry out due to a left adductor strain. Cook was red-hot in his first start of the season, finishing with 27 points on 11-16 shooting and registering a plus-16 rating in 29 minutes.

He played exactly the way Golden State needed him to play in Curry’s absence, and it resulted in the team’s 11th win of the season.

“He did the Stephen Curry imitation tonight,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell (Twitter link). “He hit a lot of tough shots, he’s a heck of a competitor.”

Cook showcased his talents and made the most of his opportunity, with the 25-year-old receiving inconsistent playing time when the team is healthy. He’ll likely stay in the starting lineup until Curry returns, then head back to the bench for backcourt depth.

“More than anything, I’m just impressed with Quinn’s professionalism,” coach Steve Kerr said, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “To not play at all for a while and be able to perform all of a sudden, out of nowhere, when we need him, that’s the mark of a pro. He’s a great fit for us and always prepared and always ready.”

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers center Tyson Chandler has impressed in his first full week with the team, Matt Eppers of USA TODAY writes. Chandler tipped back a clutch offensive rebound to help seal a win against the Timberwolves Wednesday, then grabbed 12 rebounds off the bench on Saturday.
  • Kevin Durant toured the Chase Center arena this week, which is under construction and set to open for the Warriors next season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant will likely enter free agency on July 1. “I’m thinking about a lot of points being scored,” Durant said as he toured the facility. “The fans are going to love it.”
  • Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger explores the influence LeBron James has on the Lakers and their roster decisions, despite only being with the team for four months. James held similar influence with the Cavaliers and Heat during his first 15 NBA seasons, and requested the Lakers sign Chandler when he reached free agency last week.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Lakers, Williams, Jones

The free agent signing of Tyson Chandler paid dividends for the Lakers on Wednesday against the Timberwolves, with Chandler grabbing eight rebounds in 23 minutes — including a clutch offensive rebound to help seal the team’s 114-110 win.

“We needed the help now,” coach Luke Walton said postgame, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “And I don’t know how that all works but give [general manager] Rob [Pelinka] and [president] Magic [Johnson] credit for recognizing that and going out and getting that job done for our squad.”

Chandler reached a buyout agreement with the Suns last week, and the Los Angeles native joined the Lakers just in time for their game Wednesday. Chandler, an 18-year veteran who won a title with Dallas in 2011, provides the team with a locker room presence and ability to play center off the bench.

“I love this city the way they love me,” Chandler said when asked about the standing ovation L.A. fans gave him. “When you’re homegrown from here, go to high school and all of that, and you have these same fans that have been watching [your career] and now you represent the jersey that everyone has been cheering for their entire lives, you kind of become one.

“I’ve been on the other side and played the villain. Now it’s great to be on this side and actually rep ’em.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • A panel of ESPN writers voiced their opinions about what’s wrong with the Lakers (article link), with Kevin Arnovitz, Chris Herring and Tim Bontemps among those from the company who participated. The Lakers own a modest 5-6 record despite having LeBron James and an array of promising pieces around him.
  • Kings forward Troy Williams is making a strong bid to land a full-time roster spot with the team, James Ham of NBC Sports contends. Williams signed a two-way contract with the team in October, holding per-game averages of 8.3 points and three rebounds in four contests. “It’s what they ask of me – just to be versatile, just to be athletic, just to defend multiple people,” Williams said. “What I focus on is how I can help this team defensively before anything else.” 
  • Suns president of basketball operations James Jones did LeBron James “a solid” by reaching a buyout with Tyson Chandler and allowing him to join the Lakers this early in the season, a league source told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin“He deserves all the credit,” LeBron told ESPN of Jones. “He was very instrumental. He did right by Tyson as a veteran.” Jones and James were teammates during a four-year run in Miami and three-year run in Cleveland, which produced a total of three NBA championships.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Suns, Bjelica, Green

Tyson Chandler, poised to suit up for the Lakers on Wednesday night against Minnesota, said he picked Los Angeles among about five potential teams, according to Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com. Speaking today to reporters, including Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register, Chandler said he knew his days with the Suns were numbered and jumped at the chance to join his hometown team.

“I figured if things didn’t go right it would be my final year in Phoenix, you know, especially in the final year of my contract,” Chandler said. “But when things came up and I looked at the teams, I couldn’t honestly pass up this opportunity and be a part of something that I felt was going to be great.”

According to head coach Luke Walton, there are “no expectations” for Chandler’s first game, but the team would like him to eventually help out with rebounding, provide more protection, and play the sort of rim-running role that JaVale McGee has assumed, writes Goon.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes that Chandler could be the “missing piece” in the Lakers’ rotation, writing that the signing will pay immediate dividends and help the team climb up the Western Conference standings. I’m a little less bullish about the sort of impact the 36-year-old will have, but his strengths certainly match up nicely with many of the Lakers’ early-season weaknesses.

As Chandler prepares to make his Lakers debut, let’s round up a few more items from out of the Pacific…

  • The Suns are still seeking more stability out of the point guard position, having resorted to running the offense through Devin Booker when needed, writes Katherine Fitzgerald of The Arizona Republic. Head coach Igor Kokoskov said he’s looking for more out of Isaiah Canaan: “We know he is a fearless shooter and he is capable of making those shots, but he’s got to also give us stability when it comes to (running the) team, keeping us organized.”
  • It was an eventful offseason for Nemanja Bjelica, who backed out of a deal with Philadelphia and appeared on the verge of returning to Europe before he signed a three-year contract with the Kings. Now, the veteran power forward is finding his stride with his new team, according to Alex Kramers of Kings.com.
  • X-rays on the injured right foot of Warriors big man Draymond Green came back negative, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays. However, while Green appears to have avoided a serious injury, having been diagnosed with a right toe sprain, he won’t be available for Golden State’s Thursday game against Milwaukee (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

Lack Of Confidence In Zubac Led Lakers To Sign Chandler

The Lakers added Tyson Chandler today in a move that was made in part because the team’s lack of confidence in former second-round pick Ivica Zubac, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times reports.

Zubac has had promising appearances as a Laker, like a game against Portland last week in which he had nine points and eight rebounds. Still, Los Angeles is giving up 12.7 offensive rebounds per game this year, a figure that ranks near the bottom of the league. The lack of frontcourt depth along with Zubac’s inconsistency plays a part in the struggles.

Zubac understands that he’ll see less playing time with the addition of Chandler. “That’s up to coaches but I’m playing my hardest,” Zubac said. “I’m trying to grab all the boards. We had some problems with offensive rebounds and second-chance points in the last couple of games. That’s my main focus, just to get those defensive boards.”

Chandler is expected to make his debut for the Lakers on Wednesday against the Timberwolves,  Jordan Schultz of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

Lakers Sign Tyson Chandler

The Lakers have signed Tyson Chandler, GM Rob Pelinka announced today (via the team’s website). Chandler was waived by the Suns over the weekend and cleared waivers earlier this evening.

“Having observed our roster for the first 10 games of this young season, one of the areas that [president of basketball operations Magic Johnson] and I discussed with [head coach] Luke [Walton] that we desired to upgrade is interior defense and rebounding,” said Pelinka.

“In Tyson Chandler, we addressed that need, and so much more. We are excited that Tyson will bring championship-level experience to our Lakers team that will solidify our veteran leadership and help positively shape our young core. We are thrilled for Tyson to join us as we progress towards our ultimate goals as a team.”

The deal will be a one-year pact for the veteran’s minimum, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. He’ll receive approximately $2.11MM this season, which is the same amount that he gave up in his buyout agreement with the Suns. The Lakers’ cap hit for the deal will be about $1.33MM.

The news of Chandler coming to the Lakers broke on Sunday and LeBron James told local media members that he was thrilled with the reports. “We love the fact that we’re going to get another veteran. A guy who plays hard, who is very smart and another champion,” James said. Chandler previously played with James on the 2012 Gold Medal Olympic team.

The 4-time MVP added that Chandler “adds depth” to an area the team has “struggled” with at times this season. Los Angeles signed JaVale McGee during the offseason and he’s played well. However, the team lacks a reliable big behind the former Warrior.

Chandler is expected to make his debut for the Lakers on Wednesday against the Timberwolves, Jordan Schultz of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers Rumors: Chandler, Walton, Johnson

Tyson Chandler probably won’t have a major impact as the backup center behind JaVale McGee, according to Matt John of Basketball Insiders. Chandler is expected to sign with the Lakers once he clears waivers after reaching a buyout agreement with the Suns. Kyle Kuzma didn’t handle the role of backup center well and Ivica Zubac hasn’t earned coach Luke Walton‘s trust, John continues. Phoenix’s defensive rating with Chandler on the court wasn’t much different than when he was off it over the past three seasons but he’s still an upgrade over the current options, John adds.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • The team may be hitting the panic button with regularity this season, Mark Whicker of the Los Angeles Times opines. Their poor defensive effort against Toronto on Sunday night was the type that leads to impulsive front office action such as firing the coach, Whicker continues. Walton was the betting favorite to lose his job before any other coach, Whicker notes. And though Walton has remained in charge despite some grumbling from Magic Johnson, more performances like the one against the Raptors could change that, Whicker adds.
  • The way Johnson tore into Walton last week could negatively impact the way free agents view the franchise, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times writes. Walton deserves a chance to figure things out and Johnson came across as a bully for dressing down Walton in a meeting last week, Plaschke continues. The fact that the story was leaked to the media shows dysfunction in the front office and that’s not a good look for free agents, who will be seeking stability next summer, Plaschke adds.
  • Johnson said Walton’s job was safe after Sunday’s game. Get the details here.

Suns, Tyson Chandler Finalize Buyout Agreement

The Suns officially reached a buyout agreement with Tyson Chandler and have requested waivers on the veteran center, the team confirmed today in a press release. It was first reported on Saturday that the two sides would be parting ways.

“We want to thank Tyson for his contributions to the Suns over the past three-plus seasons,” interim co-GM James Jones said in a statement. “With respect for Tyson’s accomplished career, today’s move gives him the chance to pursue a new opportunity while allowing our younger players to continue developing. Tyson is a consummate professional and we wish him all the best.”

Chandler’s role with the Suns had dwindled, from 25.0 minutes per game last season to just 12.7 MPG in the early going this year. The 18-year veteran started all 46 games he played for Phoenix in 2017/18, but had been moved to the bench this season due to the arrival of first overall pick Deandre Ayton. Chandler averaged 6.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG last year.

Chandler was in the final year of a contract that paid him approximately $13.59MM this season. Phoenix will be able to trim some of that cap hit off the books as a result of the buyout agreement, while the 36-year-old figures to sign a minimum salary with his new team.

That new team will be the Lakers, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) indicated on Saturday that the framework for a buyout agreement between Chandler and the Suns had been in place for a little while, but it wasn’t put into motion until the big man knew he had a landing spot lined up.

The Lakers have been thin at center this season, leaning heavily on JaVale McGee and relying on smaller players to spend time at the five, so Chandler should see some playing time in Los Angeles. He’ll be eligible to sign with L.A. after he clears waivers on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Holmes, Cousins, Gortat

The Sunsbuyout with Tyson Chandler would have helped the team much more if it had occurred during the preseason, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. The parties have reportedly had a standing deal on a buyout in place for some time, but Chandler was reluctant to commit until he was confident that another organization would pick him up. The consensus is the Lakers will be his next team.

The money saved through Chandler’s buyout could have benefited the Suns in a number of ways, Nahmad notes. De’Anthony Melton, a second-round pick acquired in a trade with the Rockets, was limited to a two-year, minimum-salary deal because Phoenix didn’t have money available for a three- or four-year offer (Twitter link). Nahmad is assuming Chandler will give back about $452K in his buyout, and notes that the Suns waited until just before the start of training camp to sign Melton in the hopes that they could free up more cash.

Unloading Chandler earlier would have also opened a roster spot and would have eliminated the need to waive Davon Reed when Jamal Crawford was signed (Twitter link). Reed, who is now on a two-way deal with the Pacers, is still owed his entire $1.4MM salary from the Suns.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The news about Chandler explains why Richaun Holmes was the Suns‘ first choice at backup center in Friday’s game, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason trade, played a season-high 13 minutes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is expected to have a one-year stay with the Warriors, but GM Bob Myers isn’t giving up on the idea of extending their arrangement, relays Chelsea Howard of The Sporting News. During a recent appearance on the team’s pre-game show, Myers said “options are open” when it comes to keeping the All-Star center. “These type of predictions — good or bad — are pretty fruitless because you just don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to be going on on July 1, 2019. You don’t know if it’s going to be better than you think … but it’s not going to be what you think. So, with a guy like DeMarcus, who knows? If he wants to come back, let’s bring him back.” If Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both re-sign, Golden State would be well above the cap and would be limited to offering Cousins its mid-level exception again.
  • Clippers center Marcin Gortat re-tweeted a message bemoaning the end of his consecutive games streak. L.A. traded for Gortat in June to help offset the expected loss of DeAndre Jordan, but he has averaged just 3.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG and is losing minutes to Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Walton, Chandler

LeBron James made a strong statement in support of Luke Walton and the Lakers’ coaching staff following last night’s win in Portland, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Walton started to feel some heat after a 2-5 start and was “admonished” this week by team president Magic Johnson. The team has responded with two straight wins, and James left no doubt that he is in Walton’s corner.

“Listen, coaching staff put us in a position to win, and it’s up to us to go up and execute,” he told reporters after the game. “Luke can care less about what’s going on outside. We could as well. I’m the last person to ask about scrutiny or anything of that nature. So none of that stuff matters to me. The only thing that matters to me is what goes on inside this locker room, both home and away.”

James has clashed with coaches in both Miami and Cleveland and reportedly played a large role in getting David Blatt fired a year after he took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. James’ endorsement of Walton should carry a lot of weight with the Lakers’ front office.

There’s more this morning out of Los Angeles:

  • Johnson was less upset about the team’s won-loss record than what he perceived as a lack of identity at both ends of the court, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. A source tells Amick that Walton’s job wasn’t threatened and that Johnson hasn’t lost confidence in his coach, even though he was hired by the previous administration. Amick also notes that owner Jeanie Buss viewed frequent coaching changes as a weakness of the management team that was in place before Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka were hired.
  • In that meeting, Walton appealed for another big man to back up starting center JaVale McGee, Amick adds in the same piece. That request appears to have been answered with the expected addition of Tyson Chandler, who is nearing a buyout with the Suns.
  • Chandler may not be enough to solve the Lakers’ issues on defense when McGee is off the court, suggests Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Pelton runs the numbers on Chandler and finds that his ability to protect the rim has been on a steady decline over the past six seasons. He states that the Lakers might have been better off waiting for another center to become available, such as the Bulls’ Robin Lopez or the Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon.