It’s been quite the week for Tyson Chandler. Last weekend, news emerged that he was working on finalizing a buyout with the Phoenix Suns, the organization he’s called home since 2015. With No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton set to be the new face of the franchise and the team’s starting center, Chandler wanted an opportunity to ply his wares someplace else.
It wasn’t long before it came out that his new destination would be in Los Angeles alongside LeBron James and the Lakers. Things progressed at a breakneck pace from there. Chandler officially signed with his new team on Tuesday, and by Wednesday night, he was helping secure a big win over the Timberwolves with some game-saving tip-outs on the offensive boards in the closing seconds of a hard-fought matchup.
If all those events seemed to unfold rather quickly, then there was a good reason for that: LeBron James. According to reports from both Bleacher Report and ESPN, LeBron was the major catalyst for securing Chandler’s services so swiftly, apparently leveraging his long-time relationship with Suns exec James Jones to get the deal done as soon as possible.
Via Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:
It’s no coincidence that the facilitator was Suns vice president of basketball operations James Jones, a close friend and longtime teammate of James.
“They could have bought him out at the trade deadline and gotten great leadership and mentoring for two-thirds of the season,” a rival executive told B/R. “But LeBron wanted him now.”
Jones won championships with LeBron in both Miami and his second stint in Cleveland, and he is well known as one of LeBron’s favorite teammates of all time. It’s also notable that, despite JaVale McGee’s inspired play this season, it was Chandler who was on the floor in the final moments with the game on the line and who subsequently made the game-winning plays.
Mostly, however, it’s indicative of both LeBron’s clout around the NBA, as well as the growing impatience among the Lakers to start winning now. Though the franchise has preached patience and growth with their young core, the expectations have risen exponentially with LeBron in town, and it’s likely that this only the first of many moves to come over the next few months.
(Via Bleacher Report)