Chandler Not Offended by Bobcats Trade
Players, you see, are often sensitive about what a team gets back when they are traded. Marcus Camby wasn't dancing the Cha-cha-cha when Denver, in a July 2008 salary dump, got nothing more from the Los Angeles Clippers than the right to exchange second-round picks in 2010.
And Chandler grumbled when he saw all the Hornets, in an attempted salary dump, got for him were Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, who both had expiring contracts, and the draft rights to somebody named DeVon Hardin.
"The... deal was like, 'Come on,''' Chandler said in an interview with FanHouse. "Because I'm pulling for my teammates, even though I was gone to a new situation at the time, I wanted to still see them succeed. I felt like, 'Come on. You still got to give my boys a chance to succeed.'''
Fortunately for the Hornets and for Chandler's piece of mind, the trade was rescinded when Chandler failed a physical due to an alleged troublesome toe. But Chandler was traded again last July to Charlotte, and this time it went through. What the Hornets got back, center Emeka Okafor, hardly was embarrassing.
"Emeka is a great player,'' Chandler said. "(The Hornets) still got a chance to do some things.''
Other than executives from contending teams going to lunch when Allen Iverson's representatives were on hold, Chandler again being dealt was the NBA's biggest offseason non-surprise. The Hornets were looking to shave payroll, and Chandler will make $12.2 million this season and likely won't opt out of the $13.2 million he's due in 2010-11.
"I definitely knew they had to make a move, and I knew I was the piece,'' Chandler said. "I was just hoping I would land in a good spot, and I'm very happy where I landed because of the coaching (Hall of Famer Larry Brown in charge) and the good young players. ... I knew that I was going to be the one that was going to be traded.
"It's a business. If I was a businessman, I may have treated this differently. But, if I'm a businessman and I got to make a business decision, it is what it is.''
But the latest deal was hardly the salary dump the Hornets sought to do last February. Okafor does make $1.4 million less over the next two seasons ($11.5 million and $12.5 million), which allows the Hornets to save in the short term on luxury tax. But he has two more years than Chandler left on his contract, earning $13.5 million in 2011-12 and $14.5 million in 2012-13.
There actually has been more talk about the deal being made to save the Bobcats bucks.
"You can figure out why it was made,'' Brown said when asked why Charlotte made the trade, apparently referring to Chandler having a total of $25.4 million left on his contract to Okafor's $52 million. "It's not about the players.''
Welcome to Charlotte, Tyson. Your new coach, who says "I love Emeka,'' was not excited to see him depart.
But Chandler remains undeterred. He could care less what anybody might say about why he was picked up by the Bobcats.
"I feel like they acquired me to get better regardless of what anybody says,'' said Chandler, 27, who has career averages of 8.2 points and 9.0 rebounds in eight seasons to 14.0 and 10.7 for Okafor, 27, in five years. "Even if management says it, I feel that way. ... I feel that I bring a great presence. I feel I bring leadership. I feel like I speed up the game.''
For now, Chandler is stuck in neutral. He underwent surgery on his left ankle last May and wasn't yet ready to play Tuesday in Charlotte's preseason opener.
Brown, who at least likes that the 7-foot-1 Chandler can play some power forward while the 6-10 Okafor is pretty much just a center, foresees Chandler returning very soon. Chandler said the ankle feels much better and his only concern is conditioning since he couldn't do much running during the offseason.
As for his left big toe that torpedoed his Oklahoma City physical, Chandler is still confused. He underwent surgery on it in April 2007 but said it hadn't been a problem for a while.
"That was an interesting thing for me because I was out because of an ankle injury,'' Chandler said. "I thought it was my ankle (when Chandler learned he failed the physical). I was very surprised when they said it was my toe because that hadn't kept me out of anything.''
It was indeed an interesting February for Chandler, who was a member of the Thunder for one day. But at the least the Hornets hadn't tried to trade him for a rack of balls.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.