The wooing of Tyson Chandler begins
|Ben and Skin weigh in on the rumors circulating around NBA free agents. Will a max contract offer lure Tyson Chandler away from the Mavs?
The Mavs go in with the clear edge to re-sign the big man. And, Chandler might not find a better spot than Dallas to contend for a title this season. Still, he'll have options and big bucks waiting with every suitor. Here's a quick take on five teams, in no particular order, that could make a hard charge:
Minnesota might seem like the NBA's Siberia and, well, it's hard to argue that isn't. But, is that about to change? Don Nelson thinks so. That's why the Hall of Fame coach lobbied hard for that job after the T'Wolves called it curtains for Kurt Rambis. Veteran mastermind Rick Adelman has the gig and don't you know he'd -- well -- love a frontcourt of Chandler and double-double machine Kevin Love? Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio will finally make his NBA debut, joining a roster that can at least be described as intriguing with Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Tolliver. This move would take a real leap of faith on Chandler's part, but Minnesota hasn't had an outlook this bright since Kevin Garnett and Latrell Sprewell had a firm grip on the franchise.
The Kings could be just a season away from moving to Anaheim. Chandler is more of a San Bernardino County guy than Orange County, but nevertheless he could potentially play very close to home and family. The Kings are nowhere close to contending, but laid-back coach Paul Westphal, a Southern California guy himself, has some interesting, young talent with Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, J.J. Hickson and rookies Isaiah Thomas and "The Jimmer" (Jimmer Fredette). Center Samuel Dalembert is a free agent and could return with the right deal. The Kings are substantially below the salary cap and will have to spend some dough just to get to the cap minimum. Adelman, the T'Wolves coach proved that small-market Sacramento can contend.
This is a team that might be ready to pop with a nice mix of young talent and proven veterans returning for Doug Collins' second season. Coming off a playoff appearance and under new ownership, the goals are heightened. Six players averaged in double-digits last season and that doesn't include Evan Turner. The missing ingredient here is an athletic, rebounding center.The 76ers could use the amnesty provision to jettison Andres Nocioni, which would allow Philly to make a legitimate offer for Chandler. After the aging Boston Celtics, the Atlantic Division is wide open.
New Jersey Nets
Superman, aka Dwight Howard, is the man the Nets want to pair with Deron Williams and ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Chad Ford report that they're serious about trading for Howard and soon. The Nets still plan to hit free agency hard and Denver's Nene and Chandler are at the top of the list. Brook Lopez has proven he can score, but he doesn't rebound like a 7-footer should. The Nets have cap space and will have more if they amnesty Travis Outlaw. Avery Johnson's team is hardly loaded, but with Williams at the helm and a move to Brooklyn coming, Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov will do whatever it takes to buy a winner and steal the spotlight from Manhattan.
The Yao Ming dynasty is over in H-town. The Rockets know life in the Southwest Division isn't easy and subtracting an integral player from the defending champs while helping themselves in the process would be a coup for Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Houston is positioned to make a move for Chandler and add him to a roster that includes Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry and young forward Patrick Patterson. At times last season the Rockets looked like a 6-foot-and-under team in comparison to the competition and Chandler's rebounding and defense would quickly take care of that little issue.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.