Suns’ Watson: Tyson Chandler refused ‘opportunities to get traded elsewhere’
Suns center Tyson Chandler will miss the second game in a row Wednesday following the death of his mother a day prior, coach Earl Watson told reporters before Phoenix faced the Detroit Pistons.
Watson said the Suns lost two members of their close-knit family within minutes of one another before they faced the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. Chandler’s mother lost her battle with cancer while VP of Player Programs Mark West lost his father.
The deaths shocked the entire team, and the Phoenix coach explained just how close Chandler had grown with his coach and the rest of the Suns over the summer.
“Tyson had opportunities to get traded elsewhere this summer,” Watson said. “I flew into L.A., I wanted to sit with him and he just wanted to talk to me.
“During that talk, it was never nothing about basketball. He just wanted to know that what was changing was for the better, and it involved a lot of love, compassion and a vision. And when we got done with our meeting — we sat in a hotel in Santa Monica ’til probably 10:30, 11:30 at night — when we got done with the meeting, his words were clear and simple. He was like, ‘Man, I love you. I love the vision. I love the young guys. I don’t want to go anywhere.’ And he’s come out and he’s damn sure played like he doesn’t want to be anywhere (else).”
Watson’s relationship with Chandler dates back to the coach’s days as a point guard at UCLA. Chandler played at Compton’s Dominguez High School.
And play better this season Chandler has. The 34-year-old center is averaging 7.4 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, the latter which ranks third-best in the NBA.
Chandler released a statement about the death of his mother.