Did Suns’ James Jones do LeBron a solid with Tyson Chandler?
The relationship between Phoenix Suns interim general manager James Jones and LeBron James might be why Tyson Chandler is a Los Angeles Laker this early in the season.
A league source said “James did LeBron a solid” by buying out Chandler’s Suns’ contract less than a month into the season so he could join the Lakers, according to ESPN.
Jones and LeBron were teammates in Miami and Cleveland, where they won three championships together.
LeBron even called Jones his “favorite player of all time” at one point and said when he owned an NBA team in the future, he’d save a spot for him in the front office.
The theory was backed up by Bleacher Report, who said the timing of Chandler’s buyout was not coincidental.
Typically, the NBA buyout market doesn’t heat up until the February trade deadline. In Chandler’s case with the Phoenix Suns, that would’ve been the expected timeline. The ship had long since sailed on the idea that Chandler would be a part of any sort of championship pursuit in Phoenix, but at least he could serve as a role model and mentor to No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton.
And that was the plan…until LeBron called in a favor.
It’s no coincidence that the facilitator was Suns vice president of basketball operations James Jones, a close friend and longtime teammate of James.
“They could have bought him out at the trade deadline and gotten great leadership and mentoring for two-thirds of the season,” a rival executive told B/R. “But LeBron wanted him now.”
Chandler had a successful first game for the Lakers, grabbing eight rebounds in 23 minutes while playing heavily in crunch time.