Should He Stay or Should He Go?
The top priority facing the reigning NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks is whether or not they can re-sign defensive stalwart and emotional leader Tyson Chandler.
Unfortunately for the Mavs, Chandler has been hesitant to commit to a return to Dallas since the two sides sat down and talked about a deal shortly after the NBA Finals in June.
For Dallas, the pros to bringing back the 7-1 center are undeniable. Chandler brought a much-needed post presence on both ends of the floor along with a ferocious attitude that demanded accountability which led to Dallas sporting one of the best defenses in franchise history.
For Chandler, it’s a bit more of a conundrum as to whether he should return.
While he has repeatedly stated he prefers Dallas and would like to try and repeat in a Mavericks’ uniform, there’s little doubt that he may be able to command more from another team on the open market. The big man wants a long term deal and this could be the last big contract of his career.
In terms of his skills on the floor, although he’s played over 10 seasons in the NBA, Chandler is still just 29 years of age and may have three to four productive seasons ahead of him at the center position.
This of course is the optimistic point of view and the Mavericks would be smart to take heed and weigh all options before making a commitment.
The truth is Chandler is coming off the best overall season of his career during the midst of a contract year in which he battled foot problems all season long. Over the course of the regular season and the playoffs, it wasn’t uncommon to see the Mavericks’ center taking questions from assorted media after games with both feet dipped securely in a large custodial bucket filled with ice to try and quell those aforementioned assorted foot problems.
Fans shouldn’t forget that Chandler has had his problems with durability in the past, missing 30 or more games in three separate seasons. More importantly, before signing with Dallas this past offseason, Chandler struggled to stay on the court in his previous two seasons – missing 38 games in the 2008-2009 season with New Orleans and 32 games with Charlotte in 09-10.
The type of hefty, long-term contract Chandler is likely to command would disable Dallas from competing in the free agent market for seasons to come – especially with the new CBA and it’s even more stringent luxury tax penalties.
When the smoke clears, Chandler is the Mavericks’ first domino to fall during the upcoming shortened free agency period. Nearly every personnel decision Dallas makes both this offseason and next depends on what happens with Chandler.
Mark Cuban and the Mavericks must not only have their eye on repeating, but also having flexibility down the line as Dirk Nowitzki’s role gradually reduces and he transforms from a Batman to a Robin. The summer of 2012 free agency period is expected to feature stars such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul and each of whom could be integral pieces of the Mavs transition from the Dirk-era into the future.
2011 free agency is expected to begin December 9th, so only time will tell if the Mavs can retain their second most valuable player from the only championship run in franchise history.
Barring a blockbuster trade, the Mavericks’ chances of repeating would appear slim without the 7-1 Chandler patrolling the paint in Big D this season.