Things did not go well in the early Tyson Chandler-Mavericks talks


Saying that Tyson Chandler won the Mavericks an NBA title would not be far off. You can’t point to him as the sole difference maker, but then, this a team sport, who is? (A: Jordan) But he was in large part the biggest differential in the Mavericks teams that had failed for ten years and the one that finally captured the ring. It was his toughness at both ends of the floor, his control of the paint, his crafty, smart plays combined with simple brute force that separated the Mavericks from the Lakers, the Thunder, the Heat.

So he’s got to come back to Dallas, right?


Slipped into the beginning of a wider-ranging interview with ESPN earlier this week, Chandler dropped an interesting nugget about how contract talks went before the lockout began and no one can talk to anyone. From ESPN:

In late June, after the title, the Mavericks had a period when they could have negotiated a new contract with you before the lockout. What happened?

Chandler: We talked about getting something done before the lockout, but it just didn’t happen. … we were so far apart, we might as well not have even met.

via Tyson Chandler, speaking freely – TrueHoop Blog – ESPN.

That last part is surprising. It indicates that either Chandler considers his contributions important enough to trump the total effort of trying to keep the Mavericks’ championship core together, that his age (Chandler turns 29 this fall, but has a lot of miles on his tires) and injury concerns are irrelevant to the conversation, or that the Mavericks are wanting Chandler to return for significantly less than market value just for the good of the team.

This Mavericks team was marked by experience. Veteran, some would say old players who understand how the game works, and how the business of the game works. It was a fairly close-knit, but very mercenary group of players. To that end, it should be no surprise to the Mavericks that Chandler is going to look to get his. Yes, this team would love to come back and try and recreate the magic, but Chandler knows how big a part he played in that championship run, and he’s going to pursue getting that last big contract to set up his retirement at its end (depending on how long the max contract is after the CBA).

Whenever this stupid lockout ends, it’s going to be a challenge for the Mavs to determine just how much they want the “difference maker” who’s not a star back on their team. Good centers in this league don’t grow on trees.

Nuggets looking to lock up Karl for 3-year extension

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If you want proof of how you need not commit to overreactions based on a few years of play and to try and weather the storms of violent change that regularly sweep through the NBA, look no further than George Karl.

In 2007-2008, there was a very real movement to fire George Karl. The team was simply going in circles. They were very Warriors-like at the time (and the two teams were fighting tooth and nail for the 8th seed in the West), playing no defense, and constantly getting bounced out of the first round even if they made it. Then in November of 2008, the Nuggets traded for Chauncey Billups (and removed Allen Iverson of Turkish fame), and things took off. A Western Conference Finals appearance later, the Nuggets were a title contender and Karl was a huge part of that resurgence.

And even though the team tailed off last year, largely after Karl was diagnosed with throat cancer, forcing him away from the game for the second half of the season, the Nuggets are ready to commit to keeping that resurgence going, regardless of the Carmelo Anthony situation.

NBA FanHouse reports:

“George is here for awhile … George is in the future plans for sure,” Ujiri said at the time.

Adams said his initial talks with Ujiri will be by phone. Adams and Ujiri on Friday declined to discuss possible contract specifics for Karl, who last February signed a one-year extension for this season worth $4.5 million.

“I’d say I’m probably a three-year guy,” Karl said of how many years he wants on a new deal. “(That’s) kind of what I’m thinking about. I’d be 63 then … Then we’d talk again maybe (about another deal). I think I have the passion and the bottle of energy to try to keep this Broadway show going.”

Karl, beyond being a tremendous coach, is also a tremendous spokesman of the game. Having coached for over 30 years, Karl has perspective and has managed his career with integrity as well as success. Still, you have to wonder about the timing of this move with Carmelo Anthony still very much on the fence (at least) about returning to Denver for years to come. Check out this ringing endorsement as to whether Melo would commit to his extension if Karl was sticking around, also via FanHouse:

“That really don’t have nothing to do with me,” Anthony, who could be traded, told FanHouse when asked he would be more likely to stay if assured Karl is sticking around.

In case you needed another reminder: This is a business.

Hawks working out extension with Al Horford. Jamal Crawford will be ticked.


Thumbnail image for Ahorford.jpgBetween now and Nov. 1, Al Horford is going to become a rich man.

Well, he’s already pretty rich by most standards — he is set to make $5.4 million this season — but he is about to get richer, get rich by NBA standards. This year is the last year of his rookie deal and he and the Hawks are negotiating an extension, according to the Journal Constitution. It’s amicable, usually a good sign the two sides can reach a deal.

That’s just going to add fuel to Jamal Crawford’s fire. But that is a very different situation.

Horford enters his fourth season an All-Star who put up 14 and 10 for the Hawks last season. He is one of the better inside players in the game today. Sure, he took some lumps after trying to slow Dwight Howard in the playoffs, but that is a bad matchup for him (and most people). He was not the biggest problem for the Hawks that series.

Larry Drew recognized that though and has talked about Horford at the four with Zaza Pachulia or Etan Thomas at the five for stretches.

Wherever you put him, Horford is at the heart of the Hawk’s future.

But the real question is how much he will get paid. The Hawks just gave Joe Johnson a six-year max deal. Rudy Gay was given the same max that Horford could get (five years, $82 million). In that market, what is Horford worth? If not max we’d think he’s making eight digits a year.

It will be interesting to see what number the two sides settle on, but there is no reason to think they won’t find a number together.

Jamal Crawford is not going quietly without an extension

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If the Jamal Crawford extension saga were a pot of water over the stove, the first tiny bubbles have started rising to the surface. It’s not a full-on boil, but you might want to get the macaroni ready.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke with Crawford, and he’s starting to mentally prepare himself to play elsewhere this season. Despite, you know, being on contract with Atlanta who has little to no imperative to trade him.From the AJC:

“I would love to be here long term, no doubts about it. I would love to lock that up before I become a free agent. I want to make it work here. But if that is not the plan I guess I will go elsewhere.”

Crawford talks about loyalty in the interview, which is all well and good, but, um… has he been paying attention to any degree to the last six months? Players aren’t loyal to franchises, franchises aren’t loyal to players, owners aren’t loyal to each other, the whole thing’s a mess.

The Hawks have to be in a wait-and-see mode with the entire team. They were so good in the regular season last year and so bad in the playoffs against Orlando that there must be some level of consideration as to how this whole thing is going to shake out, especially with a new head coach and the team trying to integrate Jeff Teague into a bigger role. Oh, yeah, and Al Horford’s due an extension. Of course, maybe they should have taken this approach into account before they gave Joe Johnson the GNP of a small country.

Crawford’s next step is trade request, followed by holdout. That’s the nuclear option, and one Crawford has given no indication he’s willing to execute. But if nothing gets done, it could become a chemistry issue as the team tries to make progress in a much-improved East this season.

Kenyon Martin is not rushing back to help out the Nuggets


Thumbnail image for kenyon_martin.jpgA lot of guys got contract extensions this summer. Kenyon Martin was not one of them. What he did get was knee surgery.

And he’s pretty ticked about it. Check out these comments to FanHouse’s Chris Tomasson:

“(It is) my last year of my deal. We all know it. Ain’t nobody in a hurry to give me (another) one. So I’m not going to be in a hurry to come back and risk it. Think about it. Ain’t nobody in a hurry to give me a contract, so why would I be in a hurry to rush back and risk further injury? It makes all the sense in the world. I’ve thought about it.”

The Nuggets did give money this summer to Al Harrington. Martin got none of that.

He says it could be a couple of months until he gets back. He realizes he is playing for a contract now and he wants to be healthy, not go out and struggle because he is still injured. Martin is going to take his time.

And there is not much the Nuggets can do about it (unless they trade Melo and then decide to rip the team apart). The Nuggets need Martin and his energy along the front line if they have any dreams of making a run. But it’s a business and that side comes first.

Which is why Martin will take his time coming back.