We have the whole presser of Tyson Chandler joining the Phoenix Suns.
Here's a quick breakdown of what I heard today across the general media session as well as one-on-ones with Jeff Hornacek, Lon Babby and Ryan McDonough afterward.
Tyson Chandler checks off most of the off season boxes:
- on court leadership
- on-court talking on defense
- being the defensive captain getting everyone in their spots
- rim protection
- locker room leadership by voice and by example
The Suns targeted Chandler as their top target from other teams for just those reasons. They saw Chandler second, right after meeting with restricted free agent Brandon Knight in LA at 9:00pm.
Chandler and his wife had been seeing a movie premiere, and came over the hotel immediately after. The Suns asked him to come by the hotel. They offered him a chance to lead a talented, young team into the playoffs as their leader. Chandler commented that the Suns showed their talent all year long, beating the Mavericks three out of four times (Hornacek leaned into the microphone at that time and said "shoulda been four").
Chandler was bowled over by the Suns, by the perfect fit with their roster, and he and his wife had decided on choosing the Suns nearly right after the meeting ended. He intimated that he did not even meet with other teams. He committed to the Suns on the morning of July 1 while their camp was still getting calls from other teams.
He said going to meet with LaMarcus Aldridge was fun, and that he didn't have to sell Aldridge on the Suns. He thinks that just his presence alone showed Aldridge that the Suns were serious, and it was common knowledge that the Suns were right there in the running and nearly won out for Aldridge's services.
Chandler never once considered going back to Dallas in the fracas that was July 8. He is excited to work with a young roster and show them the ropes of how to play the right way and reach the playoffs. He is also excited about working with Alex Len. Hornacek quipped he could teach Len the "tricks" he used last season on the kid. Chandler laughed.
Hornacek said he loves everything about Chandler, but that the guards still need to step up in leadership roles offensively to run the offense just like Chandler will do on defense.
The Detroit trade (Marcus Morris, Granger, Bullock)
When directly asked, McDonough said that Morris' attitude last year - including the fight with Hornacek - might have played a small part in the trade but only a really a small part.
Mostly, the trade was made to clear up minutes at small forward and on the roster as a whole. All three profiled as small forwards. He thinks T.J. Warren is ready for a bigger role and that P.J. Tucker had earned the starting spot over the past two years.
They didn't want to deal with a few more players pushing for minutes at the same position, and possibly not being happy with it.
McDonough also said the media made the Hornacek/Mook fight bigger than it really was, and that there are player/coach arguments in every sport.
The offseason overall
The Suns wanted to get ahead of the other teams, and came into the offseason with a plan and very nearly executed it to perfection (Chandler + Aldridge).
The front office guys all talked about a more balanced roster being a big goal of the offseason, as well as additional rebounding and shooting. Adding Mirza Teletovic, Ronnie Price and Sonny Weems could not be discussed in detail, since they had not actually been signed.
They wanted a more balanced roster in terms of age, and have replaced players aged 26, 28 and 23 with players aged 18, 29, 32 and 32.
Now the age distribution is more balanced for sure. Center is 22/32, Power Forward 26/27/29, Small Forward 22/29, Shooting Guard 18/23/29 and Point Guard 26/32.
McDonough described it as the veteran shows the young guys the tricks and plays at a high level in the lineup until the young guy begins to outplay him and takes over the minutes.
Oh and did I say that Hornacek sounded pretty pleased with the offseason developments? A couple of his comments, paraphrased until I transcribe the interview, were that he can't wait to have vocal leaders on the floor and that they would get the guys into the right spots... and if they guys didn't want to listen to the vocal leaders, they'd be out of there pretty quick.
Indepth articles from the presser and solo interviews will follow in the next few days.
Here's my McDonough interview. Thanks to Evan Wendt for being our video guy, and editing this and posting it.