Free agent Tyson Chandler dropped a bombshell Wednesday night, mere hours after teams were permitted to begin talking to player-agents. Chandler told ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Chris Broussard that he does not expect to be a member of the Dallas Mavericks when training camps open in little more than a week.
"I would like this to be settled by early next week," Chandler said. "I want to be in camp with my new teammates as soon as possible."
That might come as a gut-punch to Mavs fans who figured Chandler to be a lock to return after helping the franchise win its first championship. But, take a closer look and ever since the title was won on June 12 in Miami, the 7-foot-1 Chandler has dropped a series of hints that he very well could be one-and-done in Dallas.
June 14: Chandler is reminded that Dirk Nowitzki took a hometown discount the previous summer (forget that it's is ridiculous to compare Dirk's first 12 years with the only team he's ever played for and Chandler's lone season in Dallas), Chandler responded: "Dirk's got a lot more money than me."
June 17: During one of his frequent appearances on the Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 FM ESPN, Chandler wouldn't appease the hosts and commit to staying in Dallas: "Honestly, at this point, I’ll let my agent and the management hash everything out. I try not to get involved with it because then it becomes personal. I honestly try to stay out of it as much as possible and then at the last minute, when I need to make decisions, I’ll come in and me and my agent will sit down."
July 7: In an interview I did with Chandler, he pulled no punches and didn't try to pull the wool over the eyes of Mavs fans: "It's a great point in my career, and I'm coming up under free agency and there's a lot of great teams out there, a lot of great opportunities out there, a lot of up-and-[coming teams]. So, I mean, I've got to take a look at all that. I've got to take everything into consideration, and the good thing is I'm on a good side. I'm coming off an incredible year, so it's not a situation where it's worrisome."
In the same interview, Chandler expressed disappointment that the Mavs did not make a stronger push to sign him to an extension between winning the title and the June 30 deadline: "When you win one like this and you have something special you should try to do it in bunches. But, obviously that was a time and I felt like the opportunity for me coming back was big and I thought we may have an opportunity to get things worked out before this collective bargaining agreement [expired on July 1]. But, now I'm going to go into free agency."
Aug. 4: In an interview with TrueHoop's Henry Abbott, Chandler reiterated his disappointment that talks prior to the lockout went nowhere: "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."
Nov. 4: During another appearance on the Ben and Skin Show, Chandler said that salary cap restrictions proposed in the new CBA would make it difficult for him to re-sign in Dallas: "With the collective bargaining agreement and some of the things that they're trying to enforce, it would basically prohibit me from coming back. It would take it out of my hands -- and the organization's -- because it would almost be pretty much impossible for me to re-sign. I just think that can be the worst thing that can happen."
Nov. 30: On the first day that teams can talk to player-agents, Chandler delivers his most declarative statement: "I really think I'm going to be on a new team come training camp. I'm really taking a hard look at all of my options, trying to see what best suits me."
Does this mean that Chandler won't be back to help the Mavs defend their title? Not necessarily. Teams, players and agents are still sifting through the new collective bargaining agreement that has yet to be ratified. The Mavs must decided how they want to allocate salary in the short-term and long-term. Harsh luxury taxes take effect for the 2013-14 season.
In the end, where Chandler plays this season will be up to him. Right now, the man who helped prevent another one-and-done season, has left a trail of evidence that he will be one-and-done in Dallas.