Tyson Chandler

Rockets Notes: Harden, Westbrook, Wings, Chandler

The Rockets have faced some questions this offseason about how two high-usage players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook will complement one another. Executives, scouts, and coaches around the league are curious to see how the Rockets’ half-court offense functions when the two guards are playing together and Harden has the ball, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“That’s the billion-dollar question,” one Western executive said.

Despite some skepticism from outside observers, it doesn’t sound like head coach Mike D’Antoni has spent many sleepless nights poring over X’s and O’s to make sure the Harden/Westbrook combo will succeed, as MacMahon writes.

“We’re not going to make it too complicated,” D’Antoni said of his backcourt. “They’re MVPs. They’ll put up MVP numbers. I don’t have to interject how smart I am. That’ll just screw it up. They’re really f—ing good.”

D’Antoni does have a tentative plan for how to stagger his two star guards though, as MacMahon details. According to the Rockets’ head coach, Harden and Westbrook will likely only share the court for about 19 minutes per game if he sticks to his plan. That approach will give the club the best chance to avoid scenarios in which neither player is on the court.

As we look forward to the Rockets’ opener tonight, let’s round up a few more notes out of Houston…

  • Despite concern that Gerald Green will be out for the season, the Rockets aren’t currently pursuing another wing player, per Kelly Iko and Shams Charania of The Athletic. “We don’t feel as though we’re short of wing shooters,” a team executive said. “We have multiple guys who are interesting.” According to Iko, that exec pointed to Ben McLemore and Thabo Sefolosha as two veteran offseason additions who could contribute.
  • McLemore will have his partial guarantee increase from $50K to $500K later today, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.
  • Iko reports in the same story that the Rockets discussed a trade this month that ultimately fell through. According to Iko, another team was interested in giving Houston an asset to take on a player’s contract (likely a small contract, given the Rockets’ cap and tax situation), but eventually pulled back.
  • Although the Rockets made some changes to their roster this summer, they brought back all of their core veteran players. That has helped Tyson Chandler make a smooth adjustment to his new team, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “It helps big-time because you understand your role,” Chandler said. “As a young player, you’re trying to figure yourself out. You don’t know what your role is. You’re trying to create your niche. As an older player, you already know.”

Western Notes: Walton, Chandler, Nuggets, Hardaway

Kings players already feel a closer bond with new coach Luke Walton than they did with previous coach Dave Joerger, Jason Jones of The Athletic reports. Having a coach that would help bring in free agents and make current roster members want to stay in Sacramento is part of the reason why Walton was hired.

“He just comes in, and it’s an instant connection,” Kings guard Buddy Hield told Jones. “He’s played before so he knows that player relationship and now he’s a coach so he knows how to relate to us, so that’s big coming from him.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Mentoring Clint Capela is a major reason why the Rockets brought in veteran center Tyson Chandler, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes. Chandler signed a one-year contract in July. The Rockets want Capela to become an elite defensive presence and anchor and Chandler will help facilitate that process.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon enters the preseason as a starter but Danuel House could make a push for that status, Iko adds in the same piece.
  • The Nuggets have promoted John Beckett from director of player development to full-time assistant coach, Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports tweets. Ognjen Stojakovic has taken over Beckett’s previous spot, while Boniface N’Dong has been added to the player development staff.
  • Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle believes Tim Hardaway Jr. has been cleared to participate in training camp, Dwain Price of the team’s website tweets. Hardaway met this week with the surgeon that performed the surgery in April on his left tibia and got a positive review. Hardaway’s availability for camp would coincide with the anticipated timetable following the surgery.

Tyson Chandler Signs One-Year Deal With Rockets

JULY 18: The deal between Chandler and Houston is now official, per a release from the team.

JULY 12: The Rockets and veteran center Tyson Chandler have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, agent Jeff Schwartz tells Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Specific financial terms on the deal aren’t yet known. Houston is using part of its mid-level exception to bring back Danuel House, but could offer some of it to Chandler as well. A minimum-salary arrangement is also a possibility — because he has 10 years of NBA experience, Chandler would earn $2,564,753 on a minimum deal.

Chandler, who agreed to a buyout with the Suns early in the 2018/19 season, signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Lakers and helped shore up the team’s front line, averaging 3.1 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 48 games (16.4 MPG) for Los Angeles. He indicated at season’s end that he planned on playing just one more year in the NBA, though he took some extra time this offseason to consider whether to return, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Houston’s interest in Chandler, which was previously reported, stems in part from head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s familiarity with the big man. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), D’Antoni strongly advocated bringing Chandler to Houston. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter) that the Rockets had recruited the 18-year veteran for weeks, noting that the acquisition of Russell Westbrook may have played a part in Chandler’s commitment.

Although Clint Capela‘s name was mentioned frequently in trade rumors this summer, the Rockets view Chandler as a replacement for Nene rather than Capela. The 36-year-old will slot in as Capela’s backup at the five.

According to MacMahon, the Rockets believe Chandler still has enough left in the tank to be a lob threat on offense and to provide the team’s second unit with reliable defense and rebounding.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Chandler, Conley, Mavericks, Erman, Turner

Sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN that veteran big man Tyson Chandler is a likely target for the Rockets in their search for a center to backup starter Clint Capela.

Chandler, who turns 37 later this year, had an effective 2018/19 season with the Lakers as a defender, rebounder, and veteran mentor. Per MacMahon, he is known as a good locker room guy and has a strong relationship with Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul from their days as teammates with the New Orleans Hornets.

There’s more from the Southwest Division this afternoon:

  • The Grizzlies will retire No. 11 in honor of longtime franchise point guard Mike Conley, per an official release from team owner Robert J. Pera.
  • After missing out on Danny Green, owner Mark Cuban says that the Mavericks 2019 free agency is probably done except for an opportunistic situation like a potential offer sheet to restricted free agent Delon Wright, reports Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
    • The Mavericks have since agreed to acquire Wright via S&T.
  • Should they change their mind about free agency, the Mavericks no longer need to worry about the cap hold for Petteri Koponen after the league office permitted Dallas to remove the hold amount for the 2019/20 season (per RealGM transactions log).
  • According to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, associate head coach Darren Erman is leaving the Pelicans coaching staff. Per Kushner, Erman remains a candidate for other NBA coaching jobs.
  • Elston Turner has officially been hired as the Rockets new lead assistant coach under Mike D’Antoni, per a press release from the team. Turner previously worked for the Rockets under Rick Adelman and has spent the last three seasons in Sacramento working for the Kings under former head coach Dave Joerger.

Tyson Chandler Plans To Play One More Year

Speaking today to reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Lakers center Tyson Chandler said he’d like to play one more season in the NBA before likely calling it a career. According to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), Chandler said he wants to be around more for his daughter, who is entering high school this year.

“I know I definitely want to play one more year,” Chandler said. “… I know next year will be it.”

Chandler, who agreed to a buyout with the Suns early in the 2018/19 season, helped shore up the Lakers’ frontcourt, averaging 3.1 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 48 games (16.4 MPG) for Los Angeles. After being waived by Phoenix, the 36-year-old signed a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Lakers, so he’s headed back to unrestricted free agency this summer.

If the former No. 2 overall pick plays one more season, he’ll retire next summer following a 19-year career in which he suited up for Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, New York, Phoenix, and the Lakers — and perhaps a new team in 2019/20.

Chandler has logged 1,134 career regular season games, averaging 8.4 PPG and 9.2 RPG in his 18 seasons. He earned an All-NBA nod in 2012, and All-Star berth in 2013, and was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in ’12. He also played a key role on the Mavericks’ championship team in 2011.

Amick’s Latest: T. Chandler, Walton, Joerger

Before he signed with the Lakers, Tyson Chandler gave legitimate consideration to joining the division-rival Warriors instead. As he tells Sam Amick of The Athletic, Chandler loves Golden State’s style of play and was told the team would be interested in adding him, but he knew there may not be much of a role for him when DeMarcus Cousins returned.

“For me, it became (a question of), ‘Where would I make the most impact?'” Chandler said. “Do I want to go there and — back-to-back champs — just a well-oiled machine, be one of the guys, maybe be that vet on the bench after DeMarcus comes back? Or do I want to come to the Lakers, where they were teeter-tottering a little bit, struggling at the time, but I’d seen it coming alive, and I’ve always loved the draft picks and the young players that they had here, and then (LeBron James) coming here, and then (Rajon) Rondo, and then having those vets? I’m like, let me go ahead and hop in that dogfight.”

Amick’s wide-ranging article on The Athletic also touches on several other topics, including whether or not Kevin Durant should (and would) shoot more three-pointers, Austin Rivers‘ adjustment to Houston, and more. Here are a few other highlights:

  • The dynamic between Lakers head coach Luke Walton and team management is complicated enough that it’s worth keeping an eye on for the rest of the season, says Amick. However, a source close to the situation tells him that there are “no signs of imminent danger” for Walton.
  • There has been speculation that Dave Joerger could be a good candidate for the Timberwolves‘ head coaching job since he’s a Minnesota native and has fans within the organization. There’s no indication that it’s likely though, according to Amick, who hears from sources that Joerger is still extremely high on the Kings‘ young core.
  • Previous reports, including a couple from Amick, have suggested that there’s tension between Joerger and Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams, but that situation appears “more tenable” as of late, per Amick. Sources tell The Athletic that Williams spent a lot of time on the road during the weeks after Joerger asked him to leave a November shootaround, in a concerted effort to relieve tensions. All signs now point to Joerger remaining safe in Sacramento at least through the end of the 2018/19 season, Amick adds.
  • For what it’s worth, here’s what Joerger told James Ham of NBC Sports California when asked about the Timberwolves‘ job: “Obviously I’m a Minnesota kid, so it’s interesting, but at the same time, my focus is right here, right now. I mean, we’re having a great time with our guys. We’re watching them grow every day. I feel like I’ve worked my tail off, I know the players have and the coaching staff — to put us in a position where we have tremendous chemistry.”

Suns’ James Jones Talks Rivers, Ariza, Oubre, PGs

League executives were puzzled by the Suns‘ decision to waive both Tyson Chandler and Austin Rivers so early in the season, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. As Windhorst observes, even though the Suns may be tanking and weren’t interested in taking on multiyear money, parting ways with Chandler and Rivers – who were both on expiring contracts – closes the door on possible trade opportunities at the deadline.

In a discussion with Gina Mizell of The Athletic, interim co-general manager James Jones indirectly addressed those criticisms, explaining that Phoenix wants to do right by players. “We should be a place where every party, everyone involved, feels invested and feels connected,” Jones said. In the case of Rivers, Jones said that the team and Rivers’ camp mutually agreed that it “would be best if he found an opportunity that fit him better.”

Jones also weighed in on a handful of other subjects during conversations with Mizell and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, so we’ll round up some of his most noteworthy comments here:

On whether it was true that team owner Robert Sarver wouldn’t allow Trevor Ariza to be sent to the Lakers:

“No. Throughout all of this, Robert has been adamant that his focus is on what helps the Suns grow and be the best. That was inaccurate. Actually, if something could have worked out, Robert would have been a huge proponent, just because of that investment and understanding that Trevor and his family are (based) on the West Coast. If we can do right for both parties, it should make sense. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t do something that benefits both parties.”

On what he expects Kelly Oubre to bring to the Suns:

“Exactly what he’s demonstrated in the past. He’s young, but he’s experienced. He’s played in a lot of games. He’s played in the playoffs. He’s had tremendous success against some of the best players in the Eastern Conference, some of the best players in the NBA as a whole. His athleticism, his activity, just his competitiveness is something that, as we look at building the identity of this team, those are the foundational characteristics of all the players that we target. Do they play hard? Do they compete? Are they selfless? Do they sacrifice to win? He embodies that, and that’s why we’re excited to have him.”

On what happened with last Friday’s failed three-team trade involving the Wizards and Grizzlies:

“I’ll leave it as just a miscommunication. Going forward, we’re excited to have Kelly. Through everything, we have Kelly. We have a guy we know fits with us and we’re excited about.”

On the Suns’ ongoing search for an answer at point guard:

“For us, as free agency hit (during the 2018 offseason), you talk about that tier of starting caliber point guards, they chose other destinations that were a better fit and better suited to compete right now. As far as trades, I always say it takes two to tango. That’s not something you can control.

“For us at that position, we need someone who will compete defensively, can be impactful and can play well off our other perimeters… [De’Anthony Melton]’s been doing that and we’ll keep pushing him to get better.”

Warriors Notes: Centers, Curry, Green, Iguodala

Tyson Chandler‘s statement that he considered signing with the Warriors before joining the Lakers is a sign that Golden State is having second thoughts about its current group of centers, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Steven Adams dominated the Warriors on Wednesday with 20 points and 11 rebounds in Oklahoma City’s 28-point win, elevating concerns that Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell aren’t doing enough in the middle.

The organization made the decision to go with younger centers this summer, letting JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West all leave. However, after a few weeks Golden State was already reaching out to a veteran like Chandler to provide more stability.

Jones made his 17th start in 19 games Wednesday, but posted just four points and no rebounds, continuing his season-long struggle. Looney had four points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes, but Slater notes that his offensive limitations make it hard to trust him with a larger role. Bell has fallen out of the rotation and hasn’t played well enough to earn more minutes.

Of course, the Warriors’ problems at center could be solved in a big way once offseason addition DeMarcus Cousins is able to play. But there’s still no timetable for him to return after last season’s Achilles injury, which means center could be a lingering issue for the defending champs.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Stephen Curry didn’t appear to be bothered by a groin sprain during shooting drills at Tuesday’s practice, but the Warriors are being careful about bringing back their star guard, Slater relays in the same story. He has already been ruled out for games Friday and Saturday against the Trail Blazers and Kings. Golden State is 2-5 since Curry suffered the injury.
  • Draymond Green, who is sidelined with a sprained toe, may be losing his impact as a vocal leader, Slater adds. Green was caught on camera giving a fiery speech during a first-half timeout, but the reaction of his teammates suggests that it wasn’t inspirational.
  • Andre Iguodala hasn’t been able to provide a scoring boost with Curry and Green sidelined, writes Dieter Kurtenbach of The San Jose Mercury News. Iguodala is averaging just 6.4 PPG since the start of November. Kurtenbach contends he could be filling the roles of playmaker and third scorer, but appears to be coasting through the regular season.

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.