Tyson Chandler expects to join new team

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Tyson Chandler was the anchor of the Mavericks championship defense. In an era with no hands allowed on the perimeter, you can’t win without a big who can protect the rim. He was a key change that took them from contender to pretender.

In a surprise development on the first day that NBA teams and agents could start talking about new contracts, Tyson Chandler came away convinced that his time with the Dallas Mavericks is coming to an end.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard and Marc Stein have the report:

“I really think I’m going to be on a new team come training camp,” Chandler told ESPN.com in a telephone interview Wednesday night. “I’m really taking a hard look at all of my options, trying to see what best suits me.”

Chandler insisted Wednesday that such assumptions are a misnomer and admitted for the first time that he’s disappointed by the club’s decision not to offer him a contract extension after he was widely credited — most notably by Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki — for changing the team’s defensive culture after three first-round exits in the previous four years.

Chandler’s injury history makes him a bit of a risk, and any team that pays for him in free agency will definitely be buying high, but Chandler is one of the most efficient offensive players in basketball and a legitimate force at the defensive end who helped propel the Mavericks to a championship. If Chandler does leave the Mavericks, expect nearly every team with cap space — and a lot of contenders without cap space who will be praying that Chandler will take a pay cut to play with them — to start bidding for Chandler’s services.

According to Stein and Broussard, one reason the Mavericks may be willing to let Chandler go is that they are hoping to join next off-season free-agent frenzy, when Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul may all be available. We’ll keep you updated on this as it develops.