It’s been almost three months since the trade that sent Tyson Chandler from the Knicks to the Mavericks became official, but only now has Chandler fired back at his former team regarding insinuations that he may have been bad for its chemistry.
Chandler appeared in just 55 games for New York last season due to injury, and was reportedly reprimanded by then-head coach Mike Woodson about being publicly critical of the team — specifically about a lack of adjustments, which obviously reflected negatively on Woodson himself.
Phil Jackson said that changing the chemistry was part of the motivation for sending Chandler (along with Raymond Felton) away, and Chandler didn’t at all take kindly to those remarks.
“I did nothing but try to help the culture there the three years I was there,” Chandler said Friday. “You can say I didn’t live up to whatever or you didn’t like the way I played or anything. But to ever question who I am and the type of leader I am in the locker room, I don’t even know where that came from.
“I honestly don’t know where that came from. I don’t know if Phil put that out there or who put that out there, but to me, that was the ultimate shock. And you don’t have to say that to get rid of me or to trade me. The trade is over. …
“It makes no sense,” Chandler said. “If you call holding people accountable daily being a bad influence, then hey, I’m a bad influence. But I’m going to be that as long as I’m going to strap up my shoes and step on the basketball court. And that was the big problem there.”
Chandler definitely didn’t speak in constant platitudes when facing the media during a difficult season in New York, but being honest publicly is a far cry from being a bad teammate, or creating problems behind the scenes.
None of that matters now, of course, because Chandler is in a new place, and so are the Knicks. And, even if Jackson’s comments were a veiled reference to Chandler’s behavior in the previous season, he wasn’t there to witness it first-hand. It’s probably best that both sides move on at this point, and focus on the future.