Here on Bright Side Of The Sun, we are going to take you all the way through Phoenix’s 16 roster spots previewing what to expect from each one of them during the 2018-19 season.
Tyson Chandler was the Suns’ big free agent signing back in 2016. However, outside of providing that veteran leadership onto this young roster, Chandler has seemingly underperformed on his 4-year, $52 million contract.
Through three seasons, Chandler has only averaged 7.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks for the Suns. During 2017-18, Chandler battled through a neck injury that sidelined him periodically for 36 total games. Over the past two years, Chandler has yet to crack 50 appearances.
And entering the final year of his deal, expect that number to teeter off even further. With the arrivals of Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes, coupled with the expected minutes logged from Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, Chandler is likely in line to rarely see the floor at the age of 36. If he does, I would expect it to be at most 15 minutes per game in around the same number of games we’ve seen him in over the past few seasons.
In his previous three years as a member of the Suns’ organization, Chandler has always seen his minutes stay steady around the 25-minute mark. That’s about to change now after taking Ayton at No. 1 overall, then absorbing Holmes’ contract into their remaining cap space.
Chandler is the ideal mentor for Ayton to learn the basics from, especially in rim protection situations as a former Defensive Player of the Year award winner, but his on-court production will not be something relied upon this time around.
According to AZCentral, Chandler denied a pre-trade-deadline move to a contender, like General Manager Ryan McDonough allowed for P.J. Tucker, because he wanted to stick around and help teach the young players even further.
Chandler might have felt that way earlier, but will those feelings still be mutual throughout this season where his minutes will dwindle off towards one of the lowest on the roster? It remains to be seen, although Chandler could help out a win-now team trying to make an even deeper playoff push via trade or buyout.
With Trevor Ariza now around instead of Jared Dudley, it gives Phoenix a reliable veteran they can count upon to play 30 minutes per game with no issue. Outside of Ariza, though, Chandler is still the only other player in his 30’s anyways.
The thing is, $13.585 million for someone who will barely see the floor is a tough pill to swallow from a management standpoint. Sans Brandon Knight and Ariza, who will be starters, Chandler will be the third-highest paid player on the Suns’ roster.
It’s tough to see how the 18-year veteran sees himself through this season in the purple and orange, but he could still want to see his vision through of helping Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and Ayton take the reigns completely for this new era of Suns basketball.
If he still sees the floor consistently in a subdued role, Chandler would provide someone to throw lobs up to while also holding the players around him accountable on both ends. As we all saw last season, Chandler definitely lost a step defensively as someone who can be an above-average rim protector on a consistent basis.
Outside of that leadership aspect, there won’t be much for Chandler to offer entering into the final year of his deal.
Guessing what the future likely holds for Chandler, I would expect him to be traded before February’s trade deadline in a similar move that they used for Tucker bringing back a second-round pick. Another option could be simply buying out his contract before the March 1 deadline, allowing him to latch on with a contender for their playoff run.
The writing is on the wall with Chandler falling back into a role he’s never experienced before. Now, the real question is whether he will be accepting of it over the course of this upcoming season, or want to go win his second championship before he calls it quits on his illustrious career.