Free agent profile: Tyson Chandler
This is the 17th post in a series of profiles analyzing a free agent and how he might fit with the Lakers.
Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler
Type of free agent: Unrestricted; $7.5-million early termination option
Positives: Chandler was Dallas' emotional leader and a large part of the team's defensive resurgence with his rebounding and strength in defending the pick-and-roll. His offensive numbers were fairly limited (10.1 points per game), but the Mavericks clearly were better with him on offense. He finished third on the team in floor-time statistics, was on five of Dallas' top six five-man units and added a layer of toughness that wasn't present on previous Dallas teams. He also appeared to have gotten over the injury bug. After appearing in only 96 games the previous two seasons because of injuries, Chandler played in 74 games for the Mavericks.
Negatives: The Mavericks tolerated Chandler's foul trouble and limited ability to create his own shot because they had quality shooters to carry the offense. The Lakers don't have that luxury, as their outside shooting left a lot to be desired last season and it remains unclear whether they will solve that issue next season. Then, of course, there's the fact that the Lakers boast size in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. As much as Lakers fans have been drawn to the possibility of a triple-tower lineup, any added offensive threat quickly becomes moot with teams having an easier time cashing in on transition plays against a taller, less mobile team.
Verdict: I posted video above featuring Chandler's answers to my questions at the 2011 ESPY Awards. He remains coy about whether he plans to return to Dallas as well about as if he'd want to join the Lakers. But I wouldn't read much into it.
ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan has talked to Chandler at length about his free agency, and Chandler expressed his openness to testing free agency. But Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants to keep this roster as intact as possible considering the team is coming off a championship, and Dallas' veteran lineup gives it a closing window to continue that success. Add Cuban's overall dislike of the Lakers, and it's unrealistic that the Lakers would acquire Chandler.
There are other reasons this would be unrealistic for the Lakers. Chandler's increased market value contrasts the Lakers' sapped resources thanks to multiple long-term contracts. Even if the Lakers covet Chandler's presence, they already have players with those skills in Bynum and Gasol. And though it would be understandable if the Lakers traded Bynum for Dwight Howard should the Magic go down that road, the Lakers likely wouldn't have the same enthusiasm about Chandler.
-- Mark Medina
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