I remember attending a Mavericks practice in the first month of the 2011 season. During the media session after practice Dirk was asked about a particular drill they had done. He said, “Oh that? That’s all Tyson.” Less than a full month into his tenure with the Mavericks, Tyson Chandler was calling the shots at practice. I remember thinking at the time that the Cowboys could use a guy like him — someone not afraid to walk in and be a leader.
As the 2010-11 season progressed we learned that Tyson was more than a leader. He was a center, a defender, a nasty presence, a Godsend. He was exactly what the Mavs had been missing at center for, well forever. We all remember how that season ended, the Mavs beat the Heat and won their first and only NBA Title.
Now, I am not the kind of guy who says I told you so. In fact, when I have one of those moments at home I give a wry smile and clear my throat. So I guess this is the written version of that. Just like the Mavericks I am smiling and clearing. As I clear my throat they have cleared the way to have a great off-season.
I am talking, of course, about the re-acquisition of Tyson Chandler. The Mavs let him go via free agency during one of the weeks when I was filling in on the Ticket. (By the way I will be filling in for the next two weeks as well.)
Anyway, on the radio that week I said out loud how much I was against the move. Tyson Chandler was the heart and soul of the championship. He was as important to the process as Dirk himself. I did not care about any of the others who “got away” that off season or even the next. But Tyson was special, he was different, he was the guy the Mavs had always sought and never found.
Even though I have never read the CBA, I have maintained my stance ever since. The four-year $60 million deal he signed was not prohibitive and would have kept the Mavs in a much better position to reload or maybe even repeat as champions. Instead they kept their powder dry and missed the playoffs in 2013.
I don’t think this move will lead Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James to Dallas, but Melo did put the Mavericks on his short list. The reality is that the Mavs will be better defensively immediately and they also have a chance at getting in the middle of next year’s free agent class that could include Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol.
The Mavericks had to give up a lot to get Tyson back. Too much? Well, yeah! In the summer of 2011 all it would have taken to sign him was money. Now they must pay him $14.5 million and they gave up four players and two draft picks. But I am not saying…I’m just clearing my throat.