At the beginning of the season the Los Angeles Lakers decided to keep one open roster spot in case they needed to sign someone down the line. That would come in handy much earlier than anyone anticipated as veteran center Tyson Chandler was bought out by the Phoenix Suns.
President of basketball operations Magic Johnson and the Lakers front office quickly pounced, signing Chandler for the rest of the season. Chandler has paid immediate dividends for the Lakers.
He played a significant role in his first game, a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, as well as a game-sealing block to clinch a victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Johnson is extremely happy with what Chandler has brought to the Lakers, telling Mike Trudell on Spectrum SportsNet that Chandler gives the team another anchor on the defense as well as another high IQ veteran:
“I love him. We brought in another champion and somebody to anchor our defense when JaVale is on the bench. He sets, probably, some of the best picks in basketball. And when you think about Tyson, his basketball IQ is just like LeBron and Rondo. Very intelligent. And then he’s coming back home.”
Chandler was undoubtedly the perfect signing for the Lakers as the team was in dire need of a backup center and the 18-year veteran fits the bill. His numbers may not stand out, as he is averaging just 3.4 points and 6.4 rebounds, but the Lakers are 6-1 since he came on board.
As Johnson noted, Chandler gives the Lakers an anchor on defense, as well as another big body to bang with the NBA’s larger centers. His addition also lessens the load on JaVale McGee who the Lakers were pushing to the limit early on this year.
Whether or not the front office makes any other big moves this season remains to be seen, but their first one has certainly been a good one.