There were a lot of teams — the Clippers, Knicks, even Mavericks among others — that were going to get serious in talks with Tyson Chandler as Plan B, if their first gambits didn’t pay off.
The Phoenix Suns came calling in the first 24 hours of free agency telling Chandler he was Plan A — and they carried a big check.
It worked, Chandler is going to Phoenix, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
That’s a lot of years for a player who turns 33 next season, and a lot of money for a guy whose skills have started to show some slippage. That said, the magical Suns training staff has rejuvenated more than one big man and kept him playing at a high level.
The Chandler news came right on the heels of an expected announcement — the Suns re-signed point guard Brandon Knight to a five-year deal, $70 million deal, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Knight, 23, averaged 13.4 points and 4.5 assists in 11 games for the Suns last season after they acquired him in a three-team deal with the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers at the February trade deadline. Ankle and heel injuries sidelined him for most of his short time in Phoenix last season.
Armed with those two signings, the Suns walked into their meeting with free agent LaMarcus Aldridge — more than those two signings, they brought Chandler into the meeting.
Phoenix wants to play small and reportedly are not looking to trade Eric Bledsoe — although around the league they thought he was being shopped — but rather play those two together. With that lineup you can see Chandler as the rim protector on defense and rebounder (plus he is strong in the pick-and-roll), then Aldridge could space the floor and have room to operate as a four (his preferred role).
The challenge: With those two signings the Suns do not have the room to sign Aldridge to a max deal as well. If Aldridge said he wanted to come to the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix would need to shed a lot of salary fast. That, or do a sign-and-trade with Bledsoe.
Even if Aldridge chooses to play elsewhere, the Suns have upgraded their roster.
And no Chandler on the board could leave teams in a lurch. For example, the Clippers wanted to sign-and-trade for him if DeAndre Jordan chose Dallas. Now if Jordan bolts the Clippers do not have the cap space to replace him with anywhere near that same quality of players. There is also now more pressure on the Lakers and Knicks to land Greg Monroe.