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Tyson Chandler Says He Should Have Been Selected for All-Star Game

Feb 11, 2011 – 12:17 AM
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Chris Tomasson

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DENVER -- Tyson Chandler will have to settle for Cabo San Lucas next weekend. But he wanted to go home.

The Dallas center is from the Los Angeles area, and believes he should have been selected to return there for the Feb. 20 All-Star Game at the Staples Center.

Instead, there is not a single true center on the Western Conference roster. The only big men named as reserves were power forwards and NBA commissioner David Stern replaced the injured Yao Ming of Houston, named the starting center in fan voting, with power forward Kevin Love.

"As far as centers go, I feel like I've had the best year of all the centers in the West,'' Chandler said in an interview with FanHouse before totaling 20 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday's 121-120 loss game at Denver. "So I felt like, if you're going to choose a center in the West, I felt like I should have been in. But they went a different route.''

Chandler is averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.16 blocks while getting plenty of acclaim for his defense. In choosing reserves, West coaches were technically supposed to vote for at least one center.

The trend has been in recent years for coaches to slide over power forwards in the voting. But it must be said that Lakers power forward and All-Star selection Pau Gasol did start the first 31 games of the season at center while Andrew Bynum was out due to injury and then working his way back.

"Obviously, I wish it was that way,'' Chandler said of coaches voting for at least one true center as a reserve. "I look at it like an All-Star team should be an All-Star team. If you were doing that to build a team, you wouldn't do that because you would need big guys. For the most part, power forwards' numbers are always going to be more glamorous. ... Big men do the dirty work and do stuff that doesn't show up on stats.''

Not surprisingly, Dallas owner Mark Cuban sides with Chandler.

"It's a marketing thing no matter how you look at it,'' Cuban said about there being no true center on the West roster. "Do I think Tyson deserves it? Absolutely. But it's still marketing at the end of the day. The All-Star Game is not a serious game. It's a fun game for the fans. The league is going to put a marketing emphasis first and part of their marketing is building up a number of stars.''

Marketing wouldn't seem to be taken into account too much by coaches who vote on the reserves. But Stern did end up choosing the final player.

Of course, if Chandler had been named an All-Star, his price might have gone up for Cuban when he becomes a free agent this summer. Mavericks guard Jason Terry already is beating the drum for Chandler to return.

"I've already signed him,'' Terry said of Chandler, making $12.75 million this season after being acquired last summer from Charlotte. "I signed him to a max contract.''

Terry then turned more serious.

"We got to have (Chandler) back,'' Terry said. "I"d be surprised if he doesn't sign the extension here (to return to Dallas).''

Chandler, though, isn't moving that fast. Playing for his fourth team in 10 years, including his third in three seasons, he's learned not to get too far ahead of himself.

"I've made that mistake in the past that things are going to be long-term (with a team) and then was disappointed when it ends,'' Chandler said. "So I'll kind of just seize the moment and when that time (for free agency) comes, it comes. ... But things are great (with the Mavericks).''

They would be even better if Chandler had made the All-Star team. But Chandler will have to settle for a consolation weekend in Mexico.

"I'll be having my feet up trying to get a tan,'' he said. "So it didn't work out too bad.''

Chris Tomasson
Chris Tomasson | Twitter: @ChrisTomasson | E-mail Chris

Chris Tomasson covered the Denver Nuggets from 2002-09 for the defunct Rocky Mountain News. Prior to that, he was on the Cleveland Cavaliers beat for the Akron Beacon Journal and also has covered five Olympics, major college sports, the NFL and MLB. He has won numerous awards, including 10 in the past nine Pro Basketball Writers Association contests.
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