a lucrative four-year free-agent deal with the Phoenix Suns. The news was not especially surprising — the Mavs made the pursuit of DeAndre Jordan their top offseason priority and seemed content to let Chandler leave on July 1, two days before Jordan’s initial agreement to join the club.Veteran center Tyson Chandler left the Dallas Mavericks for the second time in his career this summer, opting to sign
Mark Cuban, notorious billionaire and outspoken owner of the Mavericks, attempted to explain the decision to let Chandler leave in an October radio interview, stating that he understands why the center is upset but that the team tried to work out an extension at the beginning of the season and received an ultimatum from Chandler’s camp at the outset of free agency. Chandler, in Dallas Wednesday for a preseason game with Phoenix, dismissed that take.
“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.” […]
When Chandler was reintroduced in Dallas last year, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said, “Let’s just say I learn from my mistakes.” Cuban recently told ESPN’s Dallas radio affiliate that Chandler has a right to feel “salty” because he suggested Chandler would be there for a long time.
That changed when Jordan became available, although Cuban also said in the radio interview that Dallas approached Chandler about an extension last year and that Chandler’s camp gave Dallas an ultimatum when the Suns came after him.
“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.”
It’s easy to see why Chandler is upset. The Mavericks made little effort to keep Chandler in the abbreviated post-lockout offseason of 2011 despite having just won a championship, which was basically an admission that they thought they had to get younger and add new players to stay relevant. That didn’t work out well, so Dallas brought back Chandler three years later and acted as if they had finally realized how important the now-33-year-old had been to their success. Yet it now looks like that was just a short-term relationship of convenience before an attempt to get Jordan, essentially the sort of player the Mavs had sought in 2011. After two similar incidents, Chandler has little reason to trust anything the organization says, even if they give him some manner of credit for his decision to go to Phoenix.
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Because, ultimately, Cuban seems to get why Chandler doesn’t want much to do with the Mavericks. While noting previous extension talks and a supposed “ultimatum” does seem like an attempt to save face, Cuban doesn’t seem to dispute that Chandler has many reasons to be upset. The only difference between the two men is that Cuban seems at peace with his actions and Chandler feels that they deserve more criticism.
It’s not clear that there’s any lesson to take from this situation, but Chandler’s response to his treatment by the Mavericks indicates that it would be wise not to make long-term promises when the franchise is willing to disregard them the second a better player becomes available. If the Mavericks are still upset about how they were treated by Jordan during his decision to return to the Clippers, then they might first want to look at how they dealt with the player he was supposed to replace.
For what it’s worth, Chandler did not play in Wednesday’s 99-87 Suns victory.
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