Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler is in his 17th NBA season and is currently playing for his sixth different franchise.
Averaging 7.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in 25.1 minutes for the rebuilding Suns over 17 games so far this year, Chandler seems to be out of place.
Not only are the Suns at the beginning of a major rebuild of their entire franchise, but their frontcourt is extremely crowded at the moment. Chandler, youngster Alex Len and the recently-traded-for Greg Monroe are all splitting minutes at the center position for the time being.
Dragan Bender, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 Draft and Marquese Chriss, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, have also been lost in the shuffle and haven’t been able to log substantial minutes in the frontcourt, partly due to the presence of Chandler.
Chandler was fortunate enough to win an NBA title in 2010-2011 with the Dallas Mavericks, so the desperation to win a ring at the end of his career is not likely a reality. However, there are a few contenders that might be interested in his services, even if he’s in the third year of a four-year, $52 million contract with $13,585,000 guaranteed to him next season as a 36 year old.
While the finances would need to work, the Suns would likely be more than willing to accept a low-level draft pick and an expiring contract to cut Chandler free and give additional run to their young core.
Here are three teams who may be interested in him.
Heading into Wednesday night’s slate of games, the Bucks averaged an NBA-worst 38.6 rebounds per contest, including an NBA-worst 7.3 offensive rebounds per game. That included a negative-4.3 rebounding differential. At 10-9, the Bucks are still very much alive and relevant in the Eastern Conference, but are desperately in need of a rim protector and legitimate force down low, especially after Greg Monroe was traded away to the Phoenix Suns a couple weeks ago.
Since then, a combination of John Henson and Thon Maker has attempted to hold down the center position, but it hasn’t exactly been smooth. Henson isn't consistent and Maker is still a major work in progress. Since the team now has Eric Bledsoe to go along with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, adding a veteran presence like Chandler would be an extremely smart move. Jason Kidd would probably start him.
According to ESPN’s Trade Machine, the Bucks could send Mirza Teletovic and a 2018 first-round pick to the Suns in exchange for Chandler. In that deal, the Suns would get a slight discount over the next two years (since Teletovic makes $10 million this year and next) and would likely gain a mid-to-late first-round pick. The Bucks would receive their much-needed rim defender and rebounder, thus improving their future chances to make a run in the East.
Oklahoma City Thunder
While the Thunder get most of their production from the trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder ranked 22nd in the NBA in rebounding heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Orlando Magic.
While OKC is probably kicking themselves over trading away Domantas Sabonis in the Paul George deal by now, Steven Adams is shouldering a massive load in the inside for the Thunder. With little depth behind him, Chandler would walk into a major rotational role on a presumed contender. Since the Thunder don’t have a single traditional center on the roster behind Adams, the fit would be perfect, especially on a second unit that hasn't been able to make any kind of positive difference all season long.
According to ESPN’s Trade Machine, the Thunder could offer Alex Abrines and either Kyle Singler or Patrick Patterson (after December 14) with a future draft pick in exchange for Chandler. In order for the Suns to accept such a deal, it would presumably have to include a first-rounder, since both Abrines and Singler are offensive-minded wings under contract past this season with seemingly little upside. If this happened, Chandler would provide a boost behind Adams on a team that has made defense a priority this year. The Suns would open up some cap space and could add another young piece in the draft next summer.
Emerging as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, Stan Van Gundy’s Pistons would love to have a veteran like Chandler for a very simple reason: to mentor Andre Drummond.
Drummond is in the midst of a breakout year and behind him, the Pistons don’t have a true rim protector. Most importantly, this role would only require about 10-15 minutes, which would benefit someone at Chandler’s advanced age. He’d be a natural fit on Detroit’s second unit and would be another veteran voice in the locker room for a legitimate contender.
Using ESPN’s Trade Machine, the Suns could send Chandler and rookie point guard Mike James, who has recently fallen out of his starting role, to Detroit for proven veteran point guard Ish Smith, Boban Marjanovic and a future first-round draft pick. Phoenix would benefit from a veteran point guard’s ball-handling skills and would gain another draft asset while the Pistons would receive the hard-nosed James to be their backup point guard behind Reggie Jackson as well as Chandler, who would presumably thrive picking up minutes behind Drummond. There are a number of other possibilities that also logically work between these two organizations.
While there are many teams who could benefit from Chandler’s skills, these three seem like logical choices.