Locked out, Tyson Chandler joins air force

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
8:34
PM CT
Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler still doesn't know where he'll play basketball next season, but he does have quite the itinerary for the next two weeks.

Chandler will join a star-studded cast of NBA players on a whirlwind adventure of six planned exhibition games played on four continents starting Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The World All-Star Classic is then scheduled to barnstorm London, Macau and Melbourne, Australia all in a span of 10 days.

However, ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported Wednesday that LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have backed out of the globe-trotting trip and that could end the tour after the initial stop in San Juan -- and it increasingly appears that San Juan will be the lone stop. Still expected to be on the voyage is Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, Blake Griffin, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.

Chandler, who has been playing pickup games in L.A. with a variety of NBA players, is hopeful the whole deal goes down.

"I’m looking forward to it," Chandler said Wednesday from his home in Southern California. "I’ve never been to London and I’ve never been to Australia. I’m looking forward to getting to play again with some great talent and the opportunity to see new lands."

If the tour does make it to all four destinations, Chandler will log more than 26,000 air miles and 50 to 60 hours of flying time from liftoff in L.A. on Saturday bound for San Juan to London to Macau to Melbourne and back to L.A.

The players, who are being well-compensated to participate, could find themselves in a bit of a pickle if the world tour manages to go the full distance and somehow the NBA and players association manage to get a labor deal done during talks that renewed Wednesday in New York. A resolution and quick start to training camp could be an issue after such a physically draining trip.

Chandler said he has paid close attention to the negotiations and has spoken several times with union chief Billy Hunter and NBA union president Derek Fisher, and has attended union meetings.

The 7-foot-1 center, who breathed new life into an aging Mavs team that won the franchise's first NBA title, said he believes the lockout is fully in the hands of the owners. He believes the owners are split among common market size and that their internal divide is not allowing the process to move forward.

"I really feel it’s up to the owners at this point. We put an incredible deal on the table and they put their deal on the table and said take it or leave it, so we had to leave it," said Chandler, who will become one of the most sought-after free agents and a top priority of the Mavs to re-sign whenever the lockout is lifted. "Honestly, I feel like it’s between them. Different owners want different things. Personally, I believe that within the ranks they have differing opinions, but have to be as one during negotiations.

"At some point they have to do what’s right for the entire game. Right now, what’s going on is not what’s best for either side."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9