Tyson Chandler: Does it make sense?

Since I’ve talked about the Nene/Sam Dalembert pipe dream, I should admit that I’ve always known it was a pipe dream. After all, doing so (overpaying Nene/Dalembert at the same time while re-signing Marcus Thornton) was going to be a stretch on all 3 counts. Nothing wrong with that, and I still don’t think it was as much of a reach as some insinuate.

That said, it’s probably not going to happen because the Kings, if you believe Ken Berger, are interested in Tyson Chandler.

The specific passage mentioning the Kings is actually near the top of Berger’s piece, but here is the most important part that Kings fans need to heed:

Jason Terry and Jason Kidd come off the books after the season, and the Mavs will want their Hall of Fame point guard to pass the torch to a star in his prime and keep Nowitzki in the hunt for more titles during the final two years of his contract. In addition to Williams, Paul and Howard, the 2012 free-agent class is loaded with attractive restricted free agents, such as Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo and George Hill — not to mention Derrick Rose, who nobody envisions leaving Chicago.

So the lackluster nature of this free-agent class compared to next summer’s, combined with confusion about the new rules and an unwillingness to be the team that sets the market, have slowed the activity with four days to go before camps and free agency officially open. Also, don’t underestimate how the shortened season provides an incentive for teams to pass on significant moves now when July 1 is only a few months away.

The biggest impediment to the wheeling and dealing in 2011 has everything to do with 2012 and beyond.

Now, I still think the Kings aren’t in the market for any of those guys. Eric Gordon would probably prefer to sign an extension wherever he lands (probably still in LA). Russell Westbrook would want to leave the Thunder why exactly? OJ Mayo? Really? That’s the most disappointing part of the piece as far as I’m concerned.

 

Then, we get to Tyson Chandler himself. Is he worth it? Chandler actually led the NBA in TS% last season with a whopping 69.7% (and was around 73% for much of the season), and ORtg with a 131. But that comes with a price: Chandler isn’t an offensive creator. Chandler’s career USG% is 14.1%, and last season for Dallas was at 14.2%. (Nene for instance was just under 19%.) None of this mentions that Chandler is known for his defense, rebounding and shot blocking ability.

So in that sense, Chandler is fine. I understand why the Kings would benefit from signing Chandler. I also understand why there is a risk. There is a risk in signing a guy like Nene to a max deal, and a risk signing Dalembert to big money I suppose. On the other hand, with Chandler’s long injury history (that starts with Chicago, OKC turning down a trade of Chandler to their team in Feb 2009, and only playing a 96 combined games between his last season in New Orleans and only season in Charlotte), there is quite a bit of risk.

The question is: Is the risk of overpaying Nene and Dalembert less than overpaying Tyson Chandler and keeping JJ Hickson and Jason Thompson around?

Because that is really the discussion here. Anything else is window dressing designed to obfuscate the issue. Make no mistake about that.

Let’s say you pay Chandler the max (that’s a link to a comment I made at Sactown Royalty discussing this point–I didn’t want to write it all out again) which is about 16.75 million starting this season (which is the max). You give him a bonus, and leave it at that. Then, perhaps you front load the deal so that you lessen the cap strain in coming years. That makes a lot of sense. Will it work? Who knows. A lot of that depends on who is willing to pay what to Chandler. Some of it will be depending on what other teams offer, what Chandler is after, and how, quite honestly, Chandler views the Kings in this day and age.

The Kings would be paying Chandler 16.76 million in salary the first year (the max), 17.51 million the 2nd season, 18.27 million the 3rd season, and 19.02 million the 4th season. A 4 year total would be 71,564,431.70$. (For our purposes I’ll just call it a 4 year 71.56 million max deal.) UPDATE: I made the wrong calculation here and not using 35% of the scale (minus 12% according to Amicks’ proposal) instead of the scale amount for a 10+ year player. The money would start around 17.88 Million and go up from there. 17,877,552 for the 1st year, 18,682,041.84 for the 2nd year, 19,486,531 for the 3rd year and the 4th year wil be 20,291,021.52. The 4 year total will be 76,337,146.36 (76.34 million) or so.

You can, assuming you think I’m an idiot, or simply wish to double check, do all the calculations yourself. Use this: the scale amount for the player or the % of the cap–whichever is greater–minus 12%–got that? Then, when you get the base salary, it should be 17,877,552 (unless I fucked up again), calculate raises using 4.5%. Then, to make sure you don’t compound each season, add the raise from the base salary for each year of the contract (i.e. 3 years in this case) and then add in the raise (I have the raise amount at 804,489.84). Again, apologies for any confusion.

Then, you must factor in the Kings quandry here. You have to pay Marcus Thornton some money (how much is the question yes?), and the question is what is reasonable I suppose. I’d start with somewhere around 5 years for 30 million myself with a nice signing bonus up front to lessen the cap strain on the back end of the deal.

These types of deals make sense if you’re going to compete for a playoff spot this season, and keep players happy.

The question then becomes: What of JJ Hickson and Jason Thompson exactly? Do you pay them both? Trade one? Both? Pay neither?

I’d be more amenable to trading Jason Thompson if only because his best skill set’s are redundant to Chandler, and another potential signing in Chuck Hayes. (Rumors you see? They will be the unbecoming of modern NBA civilization….)

A 4 man big rotation of Cousins, Chandler, Hickson and Hayes is hardly a bad way to go. (Not my personally preferred way to go, but it’s not my money or decision. And, like I said up top, the Nene/Dalembert/Cousins trio was always a pipe dream with a very small percentage of actually happening.)

Who do you trade Thompson to? Do you trade him away this season? Next season? Never? Do you trade away Hickson? Do you just simply not sign Chuck Hayes? (Or a player like that.)

There are lots of questions here, and the Tyson Chandler signing is just one of them. There is a lot more moving parts in a Chandler scenario than a Nene/Dalembert type deal, and that isn’t necessarily a better thing. The only question is what types of moves Petrie has in mind, what kind of value the Kings could get for a player like Thompson, and what kind of player the Kings would be seeking in return.

Natch. These next few days promise to be especially interesting to see the makeup and direction of the Kings. In case you care, I suggest you stay tuned. It’s bound to get interesting, frustrating, and stupid (or lotsa all 3). Forewarned is forearmed.