Wilson Chandler: "The trade made me realize the NBA is a business"

Wilson Chandler: "The trade made me realize the NBA is a business"


Wilson Chandler: "The trade made me realize the NBA is a business"

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Why did you choose to sign with a Chinese team?

Wilson Chandler: The biggest thing is that I didn’t know how the lockout was going to turn out. I just wanted to play so I can get a better game shape, a better game rhythm.

You’re going to play for Jim Cleamons there. Did that play a role in your decision?

WC: Definitely. He’s a great coach. He’s coached under Phil Jackson, he’s coached superstars, so I think I can learn from him while I’m here and bring that back to the States.

What is the most surprising thing you have experienced in China so far? The positive and the negative.

WC: The fans are great, they love basketball and that’s great for me. We play like three games a week, got an American coach, stuff like that… As far as negative things, I don’t really have any, besides being away from my family and friends.

How do you do to update your Twitter account? I thought it was banned in China.

WC: I have a data plan in my phone, so I can use Internet and stuff like that.

You were in talks with Olimpia Milano… How close were you to signing with this team?

WC: Very close at one point, but like I said the situation here was a lot better. I had three games a week and over there I had only one game a week. This league is a better imitation of the NBA with three games a week.

There is a perception among people in the NBA that some guys that have signed to play overseas have done that because they are struggling financially. What can you say about that?

WC: I can’t really say too much about it because I don’t know anybody else’s personal business. I have no comment about it.

You have been putting very good numbers for several years in the NBA, but some people say that was because you were playing in Mike D’Antoni’s system. How do you answer to that?

WC: I don’t answer. I will just keep playing hard, playing my game, getting better while I’m here.

What was tougher for you during your time with the Knicks – the lack of a contract extension last summer or the trade?

WC: Definitely the trade. The contract extension wasn’t too a big of a deal, I still loved being there. I think the trade was the biggest thing. It was my first time being traded, obviously. I got drafted there, it was a team I grew to love and there were teammates I grew close to… That was the toughest thing for me.

Maybe you remember this quote from Donnie Walsh last January: “Wilson is a restricted free agent and I’m going to sign him.” When the trade happened, what did Walsh say to you?

WC: He didn’t say too much. I didn’t have too much contact with the team when I got traded, I was kind of upset.

Did the trade change the way you look at the basketball business?

WC: Yeah, that was the first time I realized the NBA is really a business. I knew that at first, but that was the first time really being a part of that, like this is a business, like this is not like a regular high school team or anything like that.

Do you miss New York?

WC: That was my home for a few years and I grew to love it. But I think I was in a good situation when I got to Denver. But it was tough being traded.

For the most part you don’t show a lot of emotion on the court. Why is that?

WC: I don’t know, I’ve always been like that. Just being calm, just being myself. But like I said, I hope I can learn a few things over here while I’m playing for a veteran coach so I can show more emotion and leadership on the court.

You changed agents earlier this year and then you went back to Chris Luchey. That is not very common. What happened there?

WC: I think it’s a matter of a bad decision. When I was gone, I kind of missed them. Missed being around these guys that helped when I was a younger guy.

How long do you see yourself playing in China?

WC: Obviously, I love the NBA and I want to play in the NBA. When the season is over, hopefully I can go back to the NBA and finish my career there.

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