With The Big Trade a done deal the Suns are now the proud owner of Ben Wallace's expiring $14m contract. Few people think that Ben can contribute on the floor and many more are listening to Wallace's own words about potentially retiring. That doesn't mean that Big Ben is without value to the Suns in the form of trade bait.
The word from a few places that haven't yet risen to more prominent sources is that the Suns want to now trade Wallace's contract to the New Orleans Hornets for Tyson Chandler. Here's what that deal might look like.
For the Suns
Tyson is set to make $12.3m this season and has a player option for $13.1m in 2010/11. There are some incentives tied to that final year but it's not yet clear what they are. It isn't a great contract given his production (8pts / 9reb) but it isn't horrible either. Tyson, when healthy and motivated, is a fantastic defensive big man who attacks the glass like no one we've seen in a Suns uniform since Charles Barkley. He's a guy that can finish on a lob well enough to be a decent pick and roll threat offensively if not over used. Most importantly, he has the mobility to both guard guys on the perimeter as well as the size and strength to battle in the post.
What I really like about Tyson is that he's a prefect fit with Robin Lopez. They are virtually the same player with Robin of course being much more raw. Usually, you want to see some diversity in skill sets between your starter and your back up but in this case I love the idea of Robin being able to learn from Tyson and the Suns wouldn't have to adjust their game depending who is playing.
Personality-wise, I think Chandler is a much better mentor for the laid back Lopez. Shaq's style was never a great fit for Robin and he certainly couldn't learn how to replicate Shaq's game by playing him in practice. With Tyson, Robin will have a guy with a very similar set of physical tools but more experience using them on the court. I really like the pairing between the two.
The knock on Tyson is his work ethic and consistent effort level as well has his health. There's not much to say about the first except it is an unfortunate common theme throughout the NBA. I don't like it but there it is.
As for his health, Tyson only played in 45 games last season due to ankle issues and he was famously rejected by the Thunder in that failed trade due to some kind of chronic toe issue. Looking at his career, this past season was the first time in 5 seasons that he missed significant time and one has to assume that the Suns will look long and hard at this before pulling the trigger. Remember that most of us scoffed at signing an injured Shaq but when the Suns training staff said they could fix him they were right. If they say they can fix Tyson I would tend to believe them.
Oh, and this deal yields almost another $4m in savings for the Suns over keeping Wallace (if he dosn't take a buy out).
For the Hornets
Right now Suns fans are pretty pissed at the notion that we traded a healthy and productive Shaq for salary savings. If Wallace goes to the Hornets that anger will quickly transfer to the Big Easy.
The Hornets tried to trade Chandler once and failed. With this deal they save on his salary next season and there's a very good chance that if they can buy out Wallace this season they could save even more money. Again though, Wallace's intentions are key.
I would have to think that the Hornets will be looking for more out of the Suns here. Picks or cash most likely since they probably don't want another contract but maybe they push for Lou Amundson's inexpensive $855k deal. That would make a lot of sense for them.
Where this deal might get stuck is if the Hornets try and force the Suns into taking one of their bad contracts like Antonio Daniels($6.6m), Mo Pete ($6m) or Rasul Butler ($4m).