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Report: Spurs ‘backed out’ of Chandler-Simmons trade with Suns

Phoenix Suns Tyson Chandler gestures during a game against the San Antonio Spurs, in the second half of their regular-season NBA basketball game in Mexico City, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

San Antonio and Phoenix discussed a sign-and-trade of Spurs restricted free agent Jonathan Simmons for Suns veteran center Tyson Chandler, reports Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News.

The Spurs had expressed interest in re-signing Simmons, who developed into a defensive specialist with the team’s D-League system and played the past two seasons with the NBA club.

But when negotiations went nowhere, a trade proposal with Phoenix was considered.

Simmons would have been signed and then traded for Chandler, but according to Jabari Young of the Express-News, San Antonio “backed out” because it did not want to take on Chandler’s $13 million contract for this coming season and the $13.6 million owed in 2018-19.

When Chandler signed with the Suns in 2015, he was pitched as a potential frontcourt partner for free agent LaMarcus Aldridge, but Aldridge agreed to terms with the Spurs instead of the Suns. The reports on Thursday would have joined the pair in San Antonio.

The 34-year-old Chandler had a bounceback season in 2016-17 after struggling with his health his first year with the Suns.

He averaged 8.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game after he refused to be traded elsewhere prior to the season.

Chandler left open the possibility of being traded in his exit interviews following the season.

“I have a summer to analyze things and think about things,” Chandler said in April. “I think with a few tweaks and some pieces here and there on the roster, I think that this franchise and this team can be in that mix, and at that point, there would be no point for me to go elsewhere. That’s my hopes for the summer.”

Simmons averaged 6.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 2016-17 but grew his profile in the postseason by starting four of the Spurs’ 15 games and averaging 10.5 points per game.

After the opening series against Memphis, he played at least 20 minutes per game in 10 games against the Rockets and Warriors, scoring in double-figures in all but one of those outings.

Due to the “Gilbert Arenas provision” of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Simmons would not be able to make more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception of about $8.4 million in his first season had he re-signed with the Spurs as a restricted free agent, per the Express-News.

The Spurs have since relinquished his rights, and Simmons is now an unrestricted free agent.

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