Reaction to the Tyson Chandler trade

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Published: February 18, 2009

Here’s some of the reactions to the Chandler trade that I’ve come across online. Rather than throw all this stuff in our Lagniappe section, I thought it’d be easier to dump the lot in a blog post here.

First off, Tyson’s reaction yesterday on Twitter:

If the deal was half way done B4 the game .. Which bench would I sit on.. LOL

In my recap of the Thunder game I remarked about how the Hornets were refusing to acknowledge the real reason the trade was made. This morning I find a small reference to the salary impact from Jeff Bower on Hornets.com:

We were successful from a long-term salary situation, in that this does give us more flexibility moving down the road, so that’s a plus obviously.

Tyson Chandler vs. Yao Ming

In the Times-Picayune this morning, David West doesn’t hold back:

“This move has nothing to do with basketball; it was strictly a business decision,” said forward David West, contradicting General Manager Jeff Bower’s remarks. “Using some common sense, that’s what it came down to. I was hoping that all of it was a rumor. We have now become one of the smaller teams, and we really have put ourselves back in the situation we were in two years ago when we had a big hole in the middle. We have a little more experience now.

“People who don’t have a true knowledge of game may not see this. As well as C.P. played in the playoffs and as well as I did individually in the playoffs, Tyson was the reason we were able to get by Dallas. If you notice in that series, they put Dirk (Nowitzki) on Tyson. When we played San Antonio in the second round, he was the only guy who could, throughout the game, defend Tim Duncan by himself.”

More from Bower in John DeShazier’s article in today’s Times-Picayune:

“We looked at this from a basketball standpoint,” Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower said. “That’s what drove our decision-making. We felt there was a need to improve, and we had to use what we considered a valuable asset to do that.

“Along the way we did help ourselves out with some long-term flexibility (on the salary cap). We did help ourselves out with some possibilities for down the road. Like the other 29 teams, that’s part of today’s NBA and the economics, specifically, of right now. But the need to improve is really what drove our thought process.”

And DeShazier’s words from the same article:

Nothing looks attractive about the Hornets swapping their best rebounder, shot blocker and interior defender primarily for a couple of guys (Smith and Wilcox) who couldn’t start this season for the Thunder, a team with fewer than half as many wins (13) as did the Hornets (30) entering Tuesday’s game in Oklahoma City.

Nothing is cute about New Orleans, which can’t afford to give away anything in the final 32 regular-season games, putting itself in position to have a period of adjustment when standing pat looked so much better than taking on a player whose best days are behind him (Smith is a 32-year-old, 14-year veteran) and a career underachiever (Wilcox) who was the No. 8 overall pick in 2002 but who has been a full-time starter only once in his seven NBA seasons.

Chris Paul’s thoughts on Chandler’s departure, via the Big Easy Buzz Blog:

“I’m gonna miss him. I’m gonna miss him big-time. He was my “big-fella.” Everybody always talks about how much better I made him but he made me a much better player. He instilled so much confidence in me. Oklahoma City is getting a great player and an even better person.”

From At The Hive’s great, in-depth analysis of the trade:

I think the immediate reaction to this trade has been: the Hornets give up on 2009 and build towards 2010 and 2011. In my opinion, both the former and the latter are very overstated.

You simply don’t trade away the second best defensive center in the conference, and expect to defeat Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, Amar’e Stoudemire, or Nene Hilario. But Tyson Chandler hasn’t played a minute till January. The Times-Pic alluded to the severity of his injury being much worse than initially assumed. The Hornets definitely became a lot worse on defense… but I think the Hornets will finish up the season a lot better than people realize, and will make much less noise in the upcoming offseasons than expected.

Kevin Pelton, Basketball Prospectus:

New Orleans will miss Chandler more down the road than this season. Already, they’d played the last 12 games without him because of a sprained ankle, and his absence wasn’t devestating. Over the course of the season, they’re 3.6 points worse per 100 possessions without Chandler. The upside is the Hornets now have more depth in the frontcourt, with Wilcox and Smith taking minutes that had been going to the likes of Melvin Ely and Sean Marks. For the next two months, Wilcox will be on the receiving end of the alley-oop lobs that once went to Chandler. While he’s a major defensive liability, especially at center, a Wilcox-David West frontcourt would present problems for opposing defenses. New Orleans figures to lose a little ground in the crowded race for positioning in the Western Conference playoffs, but this doesn’t look like a tremendous hit in the short term.

LA Times Lakers Blog:

With the trade of Tyson Chandler to Oklahoma City, the Hornets will officially look to defend LA’s length with… Hilton Armstrong, Joe Smith, and Melvin Ely.  Chris Paul wonders why George Shinn hates him.

Seattle Weekly:

Chandler, despite struggling with injuries and consistency after enjoying a career year last season, is exactly what the Thunder/Sonics have lacked since, well…forever (Jack Sikma, the team’s lone great center, wasn’t known for his defense, and James Donaldson wasn’t the athlete Chandler is). It pains us to say it, but this is one rebuilding franchise that appears to really have its **** together.

David Schexnaydre, NOLA.com:

The trade of Tyson Chandler is something that will benefit the Hornets in the long run, as well.

And let’s be realistic about Chandler. He wasn’t producing. He just wasn’t. To be even more realistic, even when he did produce, he probably wasn’t worth his salary. You’re looking at a guy who is going to hopefully get you 11 points and 11 rebounds a night. And that’s the best-case scenario. Sure, he provided strong interior defense, but at what cost?

Actually, this year, it was at the cost of $10,950,000 million. Next year it would have been $11,850,000 million. Had he executed his player option the following year, it would have been $12,750,000 million. Simply put, for a guy who is inconsistent, disappears under the boards for long stretches, and has no low-post moves, that’s a lot of money to pay.

SLAMonline’s Ryne Nelson, from the comments here:

…a year ago, this trade never would have occurred. With the exception of Chris Paul, the Hornets are vastly underperforming and no longer are contenders. New Orleans is giving up on its Playoff aspirations with this deal.

Tyson Chandler throws one up against Miami

Scott Howard-Cooper, Sacramento Bee Kings Blog:

The read for New Orleans: Surrender. The Hornets, a popular preseason pick to win the West, come out of the All-Star break at 30-20 and a disappointing sixth place in the conference, and now they move a starting center who can protect the inside and rebound. So much for building up for the playoffs…

This is a good day for the Lakers and Spurs and anyone else who may have viewed the Hornets as a threat in the West, and maybe even the Mavericks, Jazz and Suns and others scrambling for the last spots in the playoff bracket, given that New Orleans is just two-and-a-half games from ninth place and the lottery.

Golden State of Mind:

I know the economy’s bad and the Hornets are trying to save some dough, but this move seems incredibly short-sighted. They just went from being a team destined for contention in the West very soon to a team that will be scratching and clawing to even qualify for the West’s Elite 8 this year and probably for years to come. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t like this move for the Hornets one bit financially. They don’t have much credibility in their local market and don’t seem to be generating much interest. The Hornets should be looking to build a stronger brand in their local city and increase ties to the community. Their eyes should be on the long-term. Take a few losses in the short-term if that’s what it takes. If the Hornets had trouble selling tickets last season in New Orleans when the team was an exciting team on the rise, just imagine how tough it’s going to be now. They just shot themselves in the foot and have only themselves to blame. Bad basketball move and an even worse financial move.

The Sports Corner:

The Chandler trade was made to get the team under the luxury tax threshold for next season as both Smith and Wilcox have expiring contracts while Chandler will cost over 11 million next season. I’m afraid that if Chris Paul stays with this franchise any longer his career will be wasted.

Tyson Chandler’s athleticism was such a weapon for Chris Paul on the fast break, in half-court sets, off back screens, pick and rolls and on and on etc. Without someone with his abilities in the lineup an entire facet of Paul’s game has been taken out of play. 

This is a formal petition to Hornets GM Jeff Bower, Owner George Shinn and Head Coach Byron Scott:

Please trade Chris Paul.

Andrew Katz, Dime magazine:

New Orleans management definitely needs to keep CP3 as happy as possible, but I really don’t see how this trade is so bad for the Hornets. I’ve watched New Orleans about 15 times this year, and I haven’t seen Tyson Chandler do anything. He’s been horrible. Not mediocre, not decent. Horrible. In December, Dwight Howard chewed him up and spit him out – Chandler finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds in less than 25 minutes. At the beginning of January, he put up 7 points, 4 boards, and 3 turnovers in less than 25 minutes against Portland. He’s getting paid almost $12 million, and he only mustered double-digits 16 times this season. That’s bad.

For about half that price, there’s no doubt that Chris Wilcox can do pretty much the same thing. In fact, I think that Wilcox plays harder than Chandler does, and even if he’s not as good a shot-blocker, he might be a better post defender. If Chris Paul can work his magic as a leader, and bring Wilcox along as a real contributor on this team, this will prove to be a good business and a good basketball move.

Amphibious Sports Duo (a Charlotte-based blog methinks):

New Orleans fans, take solace in the fact that at least Mr. Shinn didn’t order CP3 moved, like he did with Grandmama, Zo, and G-Money like he did here in Charlotte, just don’t be fooled into believing that this move is solely because of the economy. This is who George is, and this is what he does.

Reaction to my initial thoughts on the trade from a TrueHoop reader:

Will anyone really be that surprised if in a few years we look back on this salary dump as the first in a series of moves that leads to Shinn moving the team to a different city?

Tyson Chandler vs. Joel Przybilla

ESPN.com’s John Hollinger, giving the Hornets a C grade for the trade:

That said, I don’t know whether they screwed up their hopes for this season as badly as people think. One of the Hornets’ biggest problems was frontcourt depth, so doing a two-for-one deal actually addresses one of their biggest weaknesses. Additionally, Wilcox is a monster finisher on pick-and-roll plays, and I expect to see him and Chris Paul hook up regularly for some thunderous highlight reel dunks.

The Hornets should still make the playoffs, but this deal likely does condemn them to a low seeding and a first-round exit. In truth, that’s probably where they were headed anyway, and if that’s the case, the real cost of this deal won’t be until next season — when Smith and Wilcox come off the books and the Hornets will have precious few resources available to conjure up adequate replacements.

Christopher Reina of RealGM gives the Hornets a D+:

The Hornets weren’t going to win the 2009 Finals this season as it was, but very easily could have had reached the Conference Finals; now the 2nd round would be a surprise. This deal does nothing for them longterm except improve the bottom line and stay one step ahead of the luxury tax. It is unfortunate that the economy and the current structure of the NBA has reduced so many teams to this shrunken capacity to compete.

ticktock6, Hornets Hype:

I know many of you have either read the About section of this blog, or heard my story of how I became a basketball fan. Then you’ll have a little perspective on where I’m coming from. Because, man, I honestly can’t tell you when I last felt this betrayed by a team. I mean, this is probably going back to when Dominik Hasek screwed over the Buffalo Sabres in 2001, so we are talking eight years without major sports hurt for me. I think what stings the worst for me is we all imagined that CP-DWest-Tyson was the nucleus, the young guys you build around. Of the starting lineup, Peja seemed like the one who gets supplanted in a year or two for youth, perhaps by Julian Wright. And– this is the crux of the thing– if I thought that, if most of us thought that, what did Chris Paul think, when he signed that three year extension last summer?

NOLA.com’s Al Sidhom gives five reasons why the trade was good for the Hornets. The last of them:

We were not going to win with the team we had. It’s a reality fans refuse to admit but GMs have to access. I think we signed Posey hoping it would transform us into a dominant team. That never happened. Yes, we have had injuries but we were not looking the part even at full strength. I could go the route of critiquing all the moves Jeff Bower has made to supposedly be “forced” to make the Chandler trade today. But you can play that game with every GM. The hope here is that lessons have been learned and that the Hornets are now stronger moving forward.

Mike McGraw of the Chicago Daily Herald claims the Hornets were in talks with the Bulls about a trade:

New Orleans center Tyson Chandler, who was offered to the Bulls for Joakim Noah and Drew Gooden, instead was sent to Oklahoma City for ex-Bull Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox.

And finally, here’s chefcbd from our own Journals section here at Hornets247:

For us fans, the truly sucky thing is that it really felt that Tyson Chandler got New Orleans.  He was instrumental in building some homes for teachers in the community through his rebounding charity.  When his beautiful house and all the trees on the property were devastated last year by the Southern California wildfires, the very next morning Chandler was sharing his fortune with a local schoolteacher.  His blog revealed a down-to-earth guy with a great family, and in every way: in the community, league wide, and especially on the court when he was running the floor alongside Chris Paul for their patented ferocious Crescent City Connection, TC was the guy we wanted to root for in our hoops city.  We were proud to see his talents blossom here in New Orleans.

UPDATE: Ball Don’t Lie found a few I missed.

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