Exactly what was discussed that day is not known, but it came down to this: McDonough and team owner Robert Sarver asked Chandler his preference: go to a postseason contender or stay with the rebuilding Suns in a limited on-court role. In his 16th season, Chandler chose to stay. “That’s true,” he said after Tuesday’s practice. “I feel like it’s a journey I started that I want to see through. If things change, I don’t know, but as long as I’m here, I’m going to try and do what’s right by these young fellas. I didn’t want to go nowhere. I wanted to be with these dudes and finish it out.”
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In the days leading to the trade deadline, Chandler appreciated management’s honestly. He said Sarver and McDonough were straightforward, telling him: Here’s our plan. Here’s our direction. Do you want to be a part of it? “For me, I sit down and evaluate where I’m at in my career, where I want to go, what I want to accomplish,” Chandler said. “At that time, in my heart I felt like I was needed for the young players. In life, it becomes about the bigger picture and not just you as the individual. That’s what I felt in my heart.”
“There’s no analytics for voice,” Watson said. “A lot of times with young players it takes time because you’re really trying to figure it all out yourself and as you start to get older you realize you could’ve been talking early in your career because the truth is, no one has all the answers.”
As a result, Suns coach Earl Watson was asked when or if he planned to return center Tyson Chandler and guard Brandon Knight to the rotation. Both players haven’t played since the All-Star break, a stretch of six contests, including Sunday. “I’m not changing it unless management changes it,” Watson said. “I have a boss and my boss has a boss, so whatever comes from up top is what’s going to happen. And right now, that’s not even part of our equation.”
Watson’s comments made it sound as if management solely made the post-All-Star break decision. Pressed on the issue, however, he said that wasn’t the case. “I didn’t say that,” he said. “I said if things change, it will be from management.” Watson continued: “You know what? It’s a great opportunity. Basketball is like life. Things can change at any moment. You have to be ready to adjust. The moment you do not adjust, you lose. We knew as a staff we had to build an immediate mindset in those younger players, preferably Tyler and Jones.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Phoenix Suns have veteran players in PJ Tucker, in Tyson Chandler and in Brandon Knight, who they have been shopping around the league, trying to find a way to get them off to bring in more picks or another young player.
Watson told azcentral sports that Chandler’s future isn’t up to him, but he made it clear he wants the big man to stay in Phoenix. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 23. “I have very little input, but if it was up to me, I love Tyson Chandler,’’ Watson said. “I think our front office loves Tyson Chandler. Tyson wants to be a part of this process. He doesn’t mind the work and building. Where most veteran players want to win now, they don’t want to put in the work (with a young team). Tyson’s all about putting in the work every day. He practices every day. He’s vocal every day. He’s present every day. He’s positive or challenging. He has the same voice every day, and that is invaluable. That’s not analytical.”
Tucker and out-of-favor guard Brandon Knight are widely regarded as the most “gettable” Suns. Coach Earl Watson announced this week that veteran center Tyson Chandler is “not going anywhere.”
Spencer Davis: An adamant Earl Watson to @16WinsARing just now: “Tyson [Chandler]’s not going anywhere.” #Suns
Word is Portland, of late, has been tracking Tyson Chandler as a potential trade target, since the Phoenix center could certainly help the Blazers with their defensive issues.
Given trade opportunities to move, Suns center Tyson Chandler met with Suns coach Earl Watson in the offseason and made a decision to stay because the franchise felt like family. Chandler had no idea how much of a family decision it would prove to be.
Gerald Bourguet: Earl Watson also said Tyson Chandler had opportunities for trade over the summer but didn’t want one. Full quote coming in a bit. #Suns
Watson also revealed just how close Chandler is to his team by noting that Chandler turned down opportunities to be traded this summer, which followed his 15th season — a 23-59 Suns campaign. Watson said he traveled to Santa Monica, Calif., because Chandler wanted to talk but not 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,” Watson said of a talk that went late into the 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).”
Chandler said he has no plans to seek a trade and remains committed to sitting tight while Phoenix’s offseason plays out. “I’m happy where I am,” he said Thursday. “I feel like the Suns have a bright future if we continue to build and build the right way. It’s all about building the right way.”
There are big questions about what will fall at the top of the team’s priority list this offseason, but Chandler has decided to take a wait-and-see approach. “Me and management have a great relationship and we communicate,” he said on ESPN’s The Jump with Rachel Nichols Monday. “If there is a decision and they want to go young and stay young, then we’ll have that conversation. But we’re not there.”
Gerald Bourguet: When asked about the possibility of summer trades for the #Suns, Tyson Chandler has this to say: “I don’t know. Anytime you have a season the way we did, just being realistic and honest, it, always shaken up in the offseason, somehow, some way. You know almost for certain that we’re not going to come back with the same roster that we finished the season with. So we’ll see. I don’t know what their plans are, but like I say, I know that management will put us in the best position to succeed.”
The demand for Tyson Chandler is low. Even with a rising cap this summer, Chandler, who is still owed $39 million over the next three years, is not a desirable option for many teams. Factor in a strong free-agent center class, and Chandler’s poor play has many teams wary of acquiring that contract.
Tyson Chandler made it clear before Sunday’s game that, while this season has not gone like he envisioned in Phoenix, he is in it for the long haul with the Suns. “I’m not jumping ship,” Chandler said. “If the organization decides to move me or something like that, then clearly, that’s something that’s out of my control. But I came here for a reason. I thought it was a young, promising team and I wanted to be a part of helping turn this around and help go to the next level. And I feel like I’m capable of doing that and this organization is capable of doing it.
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May 28, 2017 | 5:23 pm EDT Update
The Spurs are reportedly exploring the feasibility of a massive acquisition of Paul, but the odds of the stars aligning for San Antonio reportedly aren’t realistic according to Adrian Wojnarowski, who appeared on CBS Sports Radio on Sunday with Gary Parrish to discuss where Paul might land.
“Not that I see,” Wojnarowski said of Paul’s chances of ending up with the Spurs. “I don’t know where that came from. I’ve spent a lot of time around the Spurs this spring. They would have to just tear up that entire payroll. It’s almost unlike anything the Spurs would’ve done or would do to even have a chance at him. I mean, they’d have to really gut the roster. And to do that for a 30-plus year old point guard, who has a couple great years left, there’s no question — I think there’s more pressure on the Clippers to have to re-sign him than for the Spurs to turn their whole franchise over to make a run at him.”
“Listen, Chris Paul, financially, the difference with him staying in L.A. and to get paid, I’d have a hard time imagining him leaving there,” continued Wojnarowski. “There’s so much money for him to be made and at that Los Angeles market, just in terms of his marketing endorsements, I still think they’re a pretty overwhelming favorite to re-sign him.”
Have they told you they’re going to pick up that option? Bryn Forbes: “Not explicitly, but they don’t really tell you much explicitly, ‘This is what’s going to happen.’ From making the team, I didn’t know what to expect. (Popovich) told me after the last (preseason) game that I made the team. Every step of the way, you find out that last day, even if you thought you knew from the jump.”
Did you know Coach Popovich was going to play you that much? Bryn Forbes: “His style is to just kind of throw you in the fire sometimes, when you least expect it. You come to the game like, ‘Ah, I probably won’t play this one, I’ll probably just be sitting,’ and boom, you’re in the game in the second quarter. You’ve just got to stay prepared. For him to put his trust in me, you always want to show up when he does that, so that he feels more comfortable putting me out there.”
Kevin Durant on Bob Myers: “He doesn’t walk around like he’s the leader. We know he makes the big decisions but we work together, all of us, him and Steve especially. If you see Bob walking with a group of Warriors employees, you wouldn’t know he’s Bob Myers, the president of the team. He just fits in with everybody.”