Thunder acquires Tyson Chandler from the Hornets
By Darnell Mayberry - Staff Writer
Published: February 17, 2009
The Thunder has acquired center Tyson Chandler from New Orleans in exchange for Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith, according to a league source with knowledge of the negotiations.
The Thunder will also include the draft rights to Devon Hardin, the 50th overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Chandler, 26, is one of the league’s best young defensive-oriented centers but has been hampered by chronic foot injuries this season. Chandler is averaging 8.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 32 games this year but averaged 11.8 points and 11.7 rebounds in 79 games last year.
The 7-foot-1 center became too expensive for the Hornets, who are in cost-cutting mode and face at $76 million payroll next season. Chandler has two years remaining on his contract after this season worth $24.6 million. He can opt out of the final year of his deal before the start of the 2010-11 season.
Wilcox and Smith both have expiring contracts, which will help New Orleans clear room on its salary cap next season
There is no question that this is another piece to the puzzle and makes us a better team. With Chandler and Krstic, we are pretty much set at center and can now look to upgrade the two spot...
I predict that the Thunder will be a playoff team next year, a year ahead of schedule...
I love this trade. I absolutely love everything about it. Sure Chandler’s numbers are a bit down this year but he hasn’t been completely healthy and frankly, I don’t think he’s been completely happy this year. But he’s a game changer for OKC. Right now, Nick Collison is starting at center and is playing horribly out of position. He’s a solid four, but for instance against the Lakers, Pau Gasol absolutely abused him. Nenad Krstic is a jump shooter and a decent post player but he’s not an enforcer in the paint. OKC needs a guy like Chandler. When he’s at his best, he’s a 12-12 type of guy and even at his “worst” he’s an 8-8 type of guy that can block shots - which is better than anything OKC’s got right now.
Great trade for OKC and another notch on Sam Presti’s “You got punk’d” belt (or “You got “Presti’d?”). Somehow he gives up a 33-year-old big man (Smith), another that hasn’t been playing real minutes in a month (Wilcox) and the 50th pick from last year’s draft (Devon Hardin). He keeps OKC’s five first round picks over the next two years and gets a 26-year-old 7-foot-1 big man that fills a huge need. I realize New Orleans was really trading for expiring contracts, but Presti made it happen and so far it looks nice.
I love a starting five of Westbrook, Weaver, Durant, Green and Chandler with Collison, Krstic and Watson off the bench. While it may not seem like it, this actually really helped OKC’s depth. Now you’ve got a quality big man like Nick Collison coming off the bench. Obviously, there’s a lot more to be done, but this is a great start. Welcome back (sort of) to Oklahoma, Tyson.