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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Tyson Chandler has been in high demand before.
It’s been a while, probably all the way back to when he was a high school star, that he’s experienced at its current levels. But he’s familiar with the recruiting game. And in a free agent season where the true, franchise-changing players are rare, Chandler stands out.
That’s probably why you’ve seen his name associated with so many different teams as Friday, the first day players can sign contracts and offer sheets with teams, approaches.
Having already made clear that his chances of returning to Dallas for an encore title chase are slim, acquiring Chandler has become the primary focus for the Golden State Warriors, (who are busy trying to figure out a way to land his old New Orleans Hornets teammate, Chris Paul, as well).
New Warriors coach Mark Jackson had a front row seat for the defensive showcase Chandler put on during The Finals and knows what a difference a defensive stalwart can make for an offensive-minded bunch set on transforming itself into a playoff outfit. There’s also the matter of having an elder statesmen, of sorts, to help guide his young crew.
The entire organization, from the front office to young stars, seem to agree that Chandler would be the perfect fit in Oakland. Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle provides some details:
It would take some major roster finagling, but the Warriors’ front office is aggressively studying all of the requisite moves to make the signing a possibility. Also, the team’s best players seem to be in support of the bold changes that could open salary space for Chandler.
“It’d be huge,” said point guard Stephen Curry, who spent six weeks with Chandler on the USA Basketball team last summer. “He’s a game-changer down low. That’s a coveted role that a lot of teams want to add to their roster.
“If he’s a guy who puts a Warriors’ jersey on, it’d be a huge addition.” …
The bidding among a weak free-agent class is going to be especially high for Chandler, who is widely credited with changing the defensive culture of the Dallas Mavericks, helping to turn them into NBA champions last season. Chandler is expected to get $12 million to $15 million a season over a four-year deal.
That in itself would be way outside the Warriors’ price range, but general manager Larry Riley said there are ways to free up that much cap space. After they sign their three rookies (Klay Thompson, Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins), the Warriors will have about $6 million in cap space. They then would have to use the amnesty clause on Charlie Bell, paying the waived guard $4 million but not counting his salary against the cap, and trade center Andris Biedrins‘ three-year, $27 million contract without taking much salary in return.
It’ll take some salary-cap creativity and some serious behind-the-scenes work to get it done, obviously. But the Warriors, with their new front office structure and the addition of Jerry West, should have all the tools needed to make something happen.
If Chandler and Paul both find their way to Oakland, the best fans in the league will once again have (the makings of) a team worthy of their devotion.