Chandler is exercising that right.
Dallas let Chandler walk as a free agent in 2011 after winning the championship that year. After trading for Chandler last summer, Cuban practically admitted letting Chandler leave was a mistake.
But the Mavericks again let Chandler walk this summer to chase DeAndre Jordan.
Chandler, who signed with the Suns, via Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
“I definitely felt like, after winning a championship and help bring it there, that I was going to be there for the long run,” Chandler said Tuesday. “I never heard of a championship team being broken up like that. When they traded for me to come back, I sat at the podium with everybody else and heard them say this was going to be a long-term deal and they weren’t going to make the same mistake as last time and blah-blah-blah. Seven months later, the same thing happens again. But I learned in this business that you can’t trust everybody. That’s why it is what it is.”
Chandler definitely understood the game.
While with the Mavericks last season, he talked about his desire to have his number retired. Asked whether that’d affect his upcoming free agency, Chandler smiled and said, “Not at all.”
So, he got a four-year, $52 million offer from Phoenix.
Cuban described what happened next as an “ultimatum.” Chandler isn’t a big fan of that term.
Chandler, via Coro:
“I saw the bull—- they put out,” Chandler said. “It’s just bull—-. Just saving face. It was what it was. It was clear. The whole process was going on while I was basically still in the jersey.”
Ultimatum, opportunity to match – what’s the difference?
The Mavericks didn’t want to keep Chandler enough to get him signed, and that’s fine. Chandler still apparently gave them one last chance, also fine.
Both sides will move on, just as they did in 2011.
Cuban will try to spin the story to make himself look favorable. Chandler will resent that.
And maybe in four years we can do this all over again.