Less than 10 games into the 2018-19 NBA season, it became evident the Los Angeles Lakers lacked size on the roster and were in desperate need of depth at the center position.
The solution to this problem arrived in the form of Tyson Chandler, who secured an early buyout with the Phoenix Suns and inked a one-year deal with his hometown team.
The signing was lauded by his Lakers teammates, including LeBron James, who immediately expressed excitement with the arrival of Chandler. The 36-year-old provided leadership to what was a relatively young locker room at the time on top of bringing a much needed defensive presence in the paint.
Despite seeing his production drop in recent seasons, Chandler received interest from a handful of NBA teams this summer. A return to the Lakers isn’t in the cards, as the 18-year veteran reportedly will sign with the Houston Rockets on a one-year deal, according to Marc Stein of New York Times:
Tyson Chandler has agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets, his agent Jeff Scwhartz tells @NYTSports
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 12, 2019
Chandler enjoyed some memorable moments with Los Angeles, most notably coming through in the clutch on Nov. 11, 2018 — his third game as a Lakers player. Sporting a one-point lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the closing seconds of regulation, the seven-footer blocked a Trae Young floater to help preserve the 107-106 victory.
In 48 overall games with the Lakers (six starts), Chandler recorded averages of 3.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 16.4 minutes of action. He posted two double-doubles, including a 13-point and 12-rebound performance against the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 30.
After acquiring Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans and signing DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale McGee in free agency, the Lakers’ frontcourt is suddenly flush with many intriguing options. Playing time would’ve been hard to come by for Chandler, which likely played a role in his decision to sign with the Rockets.
Houston has been busy reshaping their roster in recent days. In addition to bringing aboard Chandler, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey made headlines by trading Chris Paul and future draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for eight-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook.
The pairing of Westbrook and James Harden adds another interesting layer to the revamped Western Conference. The two were teammates together in Oklahoma City from 2009-12, though that was long before Harden broke out as a star with the Rockets.
Their reunion reportedly appealed to Chandler as he was weighing his options in free agency.