NBA AM: Wilson Chandler Off Trading Block?
Not long after the ink dried on Wilson Chandler’s new five-year $37 million deal with the Denver Nuggets did the chirping begin regarding the small forward’s long term future with the organization. This past offseason was filled with numerous reports of Chandler potentially being on the move via trade, with the speculation implying Denver was experiencing a sort of buyer’s remorse, similar to what led to center Nene being dealt last season after signing a lucrative deal.
While the Nuggets weren’t aggressively shopping the veteran forward, Chandler was a coveted wing option to teams around the league such as the Golden State Warriors who were looking to acquire depth at the position.
Further fueling the speculation of a potential Chandler departure was the Nuggets’ involvement in the Dwight Howard trade, which netted the team All-Star forward Andre Iguodala.
But, the talk should be tabled for the time being with Nuggets head coach George Karl continuing to state publicly that Chandler will be a big part of the team’s rotation this season, mostly due to his prowess on the defensive end.
“I think he’s an athletic, ahead-of-the-curve defender,” Karl told Adrian Dater of the Denver Post. “He played (a lot) for New York basically because he was one of their best defenders, if not their best defender. The addition of Andre and him gives us an opportunity to move toward being a really good defensive team. He can guard big men, little men, all over the court.”
Chandler started off last season playing in China due to the lockout and only appeared in eight games with the Nuggets before suffering a season-ending injury and subsequently undergoing hip surgery.
It took Chandler 30 days after the procedure just to be able to stand without the aid of crutches, so it’s not surprising the forward and the Nuggets are taking a cautious approach to his health to start the season. Chandler is still working himself back into game shape but plans to be ready by the team’s season opener on Oct. 31.
“That’s the goal. I’m working toward that. It’s been a slow process with the hip, kind of a delicate situation,” Chandler said. “I think once I get back into the rotation, I’ll be pretty good. We added more weaponry to this team, so I’ll need to work hard to work my way back in. But I know what I can do if I’m feeling good, and I am feeling that way again.”
The Nuggets have plenty of depth and talent on the wing with Iguodala, Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Corey Brewer, Jordan Hamilton and rookie Evan Fournier all capable of logging minutes at small forward.
Johan Petro, Not Surprised By Trade, Happy For Fresh Start In Atlanta
The Brooklyn Nets shook up the NBA landscape this past summer by acquiring six-time All-Star guard Joe Johnson in exchange for multiple players from last season’s 22 win unit. The primary reason for the Nets’ aggression in landing an All-Star caliber talent was the team’s desire to retain guard Deron Williams who was a free agent at the time.
Williams ultimately re-signed with Brooklyn in large part due to the acquisition of Johnson.
One of the players received by Atlanta was veteran center Johan Petro who played in 59 games with Brooklyn last season. Petro wasn’t surprised by being traded and to some degree expected a shakeup within the Nets’ organization.
“I can’t say I was surprised,” Petro told HOOPSWORLD. “I knew Brooklyn was really trying to do something with Deron [Williams]. I didn’t know half the team would be gone but I knew they were going to try and do something. The destination is what I was most surprised at.”
The Hawks feature a dynamic young starting frontcourt with Al Horford and Josh Smith, although both could be considered undersized for their respective positions. This is where Petro, a seven-footer, sees an opportunity to make an impact on the roster in a reserve role, especially on defense.
“You don’t see seven footers often,” Petro said. “You just don’t. I know what’s needed on this team, now I just have to perform every night and every day in practice to show I have spot here. Really bring it, simple as that. Being a seven footer [defense is] pretty much what they expect. Protect the paint, rebound the ball. I’m definitely going to try and do a better job of that like I’ve been doing the past seven years in the league. Just being more consistent.”
Petro will earn $3.5 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. The center knows excelling on a winning team will also increase his visibility when it comes to negotiating a new deal. The Atlanta Hawks have reached the playoffs for five consecutive seasons and Petro says there is no reason not to expect the number to reach six in 2013.
“It’s a restructuring year but not making the playoffs shouldn’t be okay,” Petro said. “Definitely not. The team has made the playoffs the last five years; it’s our job to continue that at least.”
Rasheed Wallace Talks Return To The Game
On paper the New York Knicks have the talent to compete with the league’s best and contend for a title, but it remains to be seen how the unit will mesh as a team. One thing is for certain, the 2012-13 squad won’t lack veteran experience to navigate the team through difficult times with Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace on the roster.
Wallace is embarking on a comeback after sitting out the past two seasons. The forward said he came back for the love of the game and not a paycheck.
“Passion, just sitting watching the way some of the guys you call great post players not playing in the post,’’ Wallace said according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “It’s the passion to come back and show y’all how post players really need to play — old-school basketball. Y’all are used to all this new, young stuff, high-flying and dunking. That’s not basketball. Terrible footwork by a lot of young guys out here. Let’s go back to old-school basics.’’
While Wallace says he didn’t watch much NBA basketball during his venture into retirement, he says the Knicks have more than enough talent to challenge for a title.
“We’re already there,’’ Wallace said. “The only thing that held this team back last year was injuries. If you look at all the injuries they had throughout the season, I don’t think at any point you have the whole team healthy except probably in the beginning.’’
NBA Chats: There is one NBA chat on the schedule today. I will be answering your questions at 8pm EST. Anything NBA related is fair game, drop me a question.