With one year and $13.5 million remaining on his contract, Tyson Chandler was an ideal candidate to be bought out by the lottery-bound Phoenix Suns at some point this season.
As veterans are usually bought out closer to the March 1 deadline in order to be eligible for the playoffs, it was an extremely surprising move just seven games into the 2018-19 NBA season.
However, the Los Angeles Lakers are certainly not complaining as LeBron James reportedly ‘called in a favor’ to former teammate and Suns interim general manager James Jones to initiate the buyout process.
Since then, the Lakers have won all three games and Chandler has stabilized them with much-needed defense and rebounding. Chandler revealed that several teams had interest in signing him upon clearing waivers, which he pared down to a pair of finalists.
“There was like, I think five teams, and then I narrowed it down to two,” Chandler said. “I had to do some heavy thinking and praying, and I could only see myself in a Laker uniform.”
When pressed on which team Chandler bypassed in favor of the Lakers, he said, “Here and the Warriors.”
As the Golden State Warriors are looking to win their fourth championship in five consecutive NBA Finals, Chandler could not pass on the opportunity to play for his hometown team. The 36-year-old was born in Hanford, Calif., and played at Dominguez High School in Compton.
After only appearing in 166 games in four seasons with the Suns, Chandler has an opportunity to play a significant role with the Lakers that the Warriors likely could not offer. While DeMarcus Cousins is still recovering from an Achilles injury, it would be difficult to see Chandler playing ahead of Damian Jones and Kevon Looney.