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Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Tyson Chandler not surprised by Mavs' sorry start

By Tim MacMahon



It’s notable any time a defending NBA championship team opens the season with two home losses.

Actually, that had never happened until now. That dubious distinction belongs to the Dallas Mavericks after back-to-back blowout losses to the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets.

None of this comes as a major surprise to the final piece of the Mavericks’ championship puzzle, who now plays for the New York Knicks. Big man Tyson Chandler could see this coming from the Big Apple.

“Honestly, I'd kind of seen it coming because when you put a team in a situation and you say, ‘You're the defending champions and we're not necessarily trying to repeat,’” Chandler told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley. “When I say that, I'm not saying that they don't have the pieces there. I obviously think very highly of those guys. But I say that because they offered everybody one-year deals so they knew nobody was going to necessarily accept that. So you’re basically telling all the players in the locker room we're playing for free agency next year after a championship.

“You've got veteran guys in the locker room. The type of guys that they've got at this time in their career, it's tough to face that so I think they're just going through a little lull right now. But I'm hoping for those guys that it turns around because there's truly good guys in the locker room.”

The Mavs could use an inspirational, emotional leader at at time like this.

Chandler was that guy during the Mavs' magical championship season. Who fills the void now? That's one of many things the Mavs are trying to figure out on the fly.