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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March 30, 2017 | 4:16 pm EDT Update
Redick will be a free agent after this season. Griffin and Paul are signed through 2017-2018, but both have opt-out clauses that would allow them to become free agents this summer. Jordan and Crawford are signed through 2018-2019, but Crawford is 37. “I think the more time you’re together, the more impatient you kind of become,” Crawford said Wednesday. “You feel like time is kind of passing by.”
“I think we’re very confident, but there’s a different swagger that teams like Golden State and Cleveland have, teams that advance far every year,” guard Austin Rivers said. “We have a bunch of guys who want to get there, and who are close … we’re not there yet, but we can get there.”
Justin Verrier: Pelicans confirm Omer Asik and Quincy Pondexter are out for the rest of the season. Asik expected to return to bball activities in 3-4 weeks
Ever since the Lakers hired Walton in the 2016 offseason after serving as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors for the previous two years, Walton said Buss has “been incredible” as she has offered support as they talked in person or via text message. “As a coaching staff, it’s really nice to hear and know,” Walton said. “We can do things that we feel are best for the team and not have to worry for now at least if we’re a part of that future. It’s very comforting to coach that way.”
“It’s a tough spot to be in with the people that hire you aren’t here anymore. Even before that happened, I always had a good relationship with her and have had random talks with her before any of that went down,” Walton said of Jeanie Buss. “She was great with the vision she had, what she saw and the way she sees things playing out. That made it a little easier even before we had official talks after all that stuff went down.”
March 30, 2017 | 3:13 pm EDT Update
Adidas offered a footwear and apparel endorsement deal worth $3 million annually for five years, sources told The Vertical, which was on par with several of the game’s top non-signature All-Stars. It would also guarantee Lin international marketing, product input, basketball camps, appearance tours and special releases in Asia.