"You can't see my fingers or toes, but they are crossed hoping Tyson's coming back because he was a big part to what we have accomplished here," Terry said. "And, we've laid a foundation. To go back and take a step backwards would be terrible. Not saying that we wouldn't have a chance to win this year if Tyson does not come back, but definitely puts things up against us."
Chandler told ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Chris Broussard Wednesday night that he doesn't believe he will re-sign with the Mavs.
"I've spoken to him every day for the last two weeks and he wants to be here, he wants to be a Maverick next year," Terry said. "Now, it's on ownership to make it happen."
Terry was the lone Mavs player to show up at the American Airlines Center on Thursday, the first day locks were removed from NBA arenas and players were allowed in to work out with trainers and strength and conditioning coaches. Players are still not permitted to mingle with the coaching staff, management or ownership. Most of the Mavs players are out of town and will begin to trickle in closer to the projected Dec. 9 start to training camp.
With teams now allowed to talk to agents and Chandler dropping a bombshell Wednesday, the major topic swirled around Chandler's free agency.
Terry said he's been actively recruiting Chandler to stay in Dallas. The 7-foot-1 center who finished third in last season's voting for Defensive Player of the Year is considered a top-three free agent with Denver Nuggets center Nene and New Orleans Hornets power forward David West.
"He's big. Again, without Tyson on this team last year I just don't know if we win a championship," Terry said. "It's just letting him know how much we want him to be a part of this team this year."
Terry is the Mavs' player representative. He was involved in some negotiation meetings in New York and was responsible for keeping his teammates apprised of the situation. He understands the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement and that it puts owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson in a tough spot.
Re-signing Chandler would eliminate the team from being able to make a run at a potentially enticing free agent class in 2012, and not re-signing him would certainly deflate the club heading into its title defense and rob it of its best defensive presence and arguably top motivator.
Asked how friendly the new labor deal (which still must be ratified) is to bringing back Chandler, Terry said, "Ooh, not good, not good at all.
"Right now, I'm glad I'm a player and not in their shoes because it is going to be a tough decision. But, again, we definitely want Tyson Chandler back."