When things go as wrong, as they have for the Suns this season, all options are on the table. Tyson Chandler was supposed to be a stabilizing force to their roster, but it hasn’t gone according to plan.
Phoenix is most likely going to end up with a top-five pick and head towards recalibrating the roster around its youth. It doesn’t make sense to have Chandler around on this path. The 33-year-old signed a four-year, $52-million contract this offseason that brings some risk. While he hasn’t lived up to expectations, Chandler showed last week versus the Thunder when he’s engaged he still has the ability to play at a high level.
Here is a look at two trades the Suns could look into that have some logic from both sides: Chandler to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Steven Adams, Dion Waiters and Steve Novak.
Why the Suns do it:
First (take a deep breath, Suns fans) Dion Waiters is not going to be on Oklahoma City’s roster long term, but is needed to make the salaries match. Same with Steve Novak. Their deals both expire after this season.
This is about getting Steven Adams, another young center to form a strong one-two punch Alex Len.
Adams is only 22, has been productive through his first three seasons and only commands 20 to 25 minutes per game. He is also under team control for next season at an extremely reasonable price before needing to be re-signed the following offseason.
Len is also 22. Phoenix would be in a position where they’re banking on one of Len or Adams to develop into a starting-caliber center and the other sliding in as a backup. If both play to starting center capabilities, even better.
Why the Thunder do it:
Oklahoma City is in win-now mode. General manager Sam Presti once traded for Chandler before, but it didn’t go through due to the veteran failing his physical. Serge Ibaka is the perfect player to pair with Chandler’s pick-and-roll offensive skill set because of his ability to space the court as a shooter.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are both dynamic scorers and creators for others. Chandler’s ability to dive would add another force for opposing defenses to deal with.
Here’s another potential Chandler deal that could make sense for the Suns: dealing the center to the Boston Celtics for forward David Lee.
In addition to Lee, the Suns get the Mavericks’ first-round pick that is top-seven protected for 2016 NBA Draft.
Why the Suns do it:
It clears them of Chandler’s salary and gives them a third first-round pick for 2016. David Lee’s defensive deficiencies certainly wouldn’t increase the Suns’ win total. He would probably end up being their best passer and smartest offensive player. The deal has nothing to do with Lee, it’s just about getting the pick and opening up more cap space going forward. Lee becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Why the Celtics do it:
Chandler and Amir Johnson would form a dynamic defensive presence if Chandler gets back to form on a more regular basis. He can play with Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. He’d immediately be Boston’s top defensive big and with Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart defending at the point of attack, that would make the Celtics an even more dangerous team.
For the Suns, I like the Oklahoma City option better because they’d add a player like Adams to the mix. I’m not against the Celtics deal because of the first round pick.
It’s tough to find a place to trade Chandler that makes sense for both teams. These are two options that show at least some logic on each end.
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