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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
If not for NY, Chandler would be a Warrior

By Ian Begley

Tyson Chander plays game No. 2 for the Knicks on Wednesday night at Golden State.

If Warriors coach Mark Jackson had his way, though, Chandler would be playing for the home team.

Playing for the Warriors is something Chandler strongly considered during free agency. In fact, he said on Tuesday that if the Knicks hadn't come calling, he would have signed with the Warriors.

"They're a young team out there and I felt like they were feisty and the organization was headed in the right direction," Chandler said. "They really wanted to win. So that was probably my best option before this came about."

Chandler's agent, Jeff Schwartz, called Knicks interim GM Glen Grunwald shortly before training camp to see if New York had any interest. Days later, the Knicks completed a three-team deal to land Chandler via a sign-and-trade. To have enough cap space to sign him, the Knicks had to cut veteran point guard Chauncey Billups via the amnesty clause.

Chandler ended up signing a four-year, $58 million contract with the Knicks.

The 7-1 center said on Tuesday that it was "tough" to rebuff Jackson's recruiting pitch. Chandler and Jackson live about a mile away from one another in California and were friendly before Jackson took the job at Golden State.

"He did everything possible and he definitely had me leaning towards [signing with the Warriors]," Chandler said. "But when the Knicks opportunity came about I let him know … there was no way I could pass up on playing in New York and being able to play alongside some of these guys."

Chandler had a solid debut for the Knicks on Sunday against the Celtics. He had just three rebounds (one defensive) but blocked six shots in the Knicks' come-from-behind win.

Overall, though, the Knicks were out rebounded by 10 and allowed 48 points in the paint.

"We've got to really concentrate on rebounding the ball. We played great defense but we let them get way with too many offensive rebounds. That's a sign we're doing the right thing. We're getting stops," he said. "Now when we get stops we just have to cover up the ball."

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