Tyson Chandler played like someone who’s entering their swan song, the final season of playing in the NBA. Chandler, an 18-year veteran, has won a championship plus Defensive Player of the Year along the way, but it was apparent during the Suns’ first eight games he was quickly going to be out of the rotation.
We saw our first glimpse of that on Friday when Richaun Holmes usurped Chandler as Deandre Ayton’s backup. No surprise, Chandler is gone less than 24 hours after this occurred according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
The surprising part of this wasn’t just the timing, but how quickly we found out Chandler was heading back to his hometown. Stein noted the Los Angeles Lakers were at the front of the line to snatch him up, and that’s what seems to be confirmed already all around.
Phoenix originally signed Tyson Chandler to help lure LaMarcus Aldridge towards signing the dotted line, but he ultimately chose San Antonio instead. The Suns walked into their free agent meeting with Aldridge by actually arriving with Chandler. He was part of their pitch at Aldridge and his agent.
With Chandler inked to a 4-year, $52 million deal, he came nowhere close to living up to his enormous figures. During his stint with the Suns, Chandler averaged 7.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 0.6 blocks while progressively losing more athleticism each passing year.
Chandler’s absence now opens up a roster spot. It could be something or nothing — it’s been reported that their buyout had been agreed upon but they needed a team before finally pulling the trigger — but the Suns’ huge hole at point guard still looms large. Keep an eye on any movement there over the next few weeks if their slide continues.
In the meantime, Ayton and Holmes will now fill the majority of center minutes. Ryan Anderson could be moved to the 5 more often, if the plan is to start increasing minutes for Mikal Bridges soon.