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Bobcats send Chandler to Dallas in 5-player deal

Posted Jul 13 2010 7:38PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Charlotte Bobcats completed a wild 24 hours of trade discussions with a deal on Tuesday that does include center Tyson Chandler after all.

He's just not heading to the team he thought a day earlier.

After a potential trade with Toronto fell apart, the Bobcats sent Chandler and fellow center Alexis Ajinca to the Dallas Mavericks for center Erick Dampier, forward Eduardo Najera, shooting guard Matt Carroll and cash considerations.

While the Bobcats get financial flexibility with Dampier's non-guaranteed $13 million contract, the injury-plagued Chandler is off to this third team in a year after being acquired from New Orleans last summer.

"We could not be more excited to add Tyson Chandler," said Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson. "He is one of the most versatile big men in the league today. He gives our front line a defensive, shot-blocking, athletic punch we haven't had here in awhile."

Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said the Bobcats will either waive Dampier or make another trade with him. That would allow the Bobcats clear about $7 million in salary-cap space because they dump Chandler's $12.7 million contract and Ajinca's $1.5 million deal and take in Carroll ($4.3 million) and Najera ($2.8 million).

Before the trade, the Bobcats were only about $3 million shy of the reaching the luxury tax threshold, a payroll figure owner Michael Jordan said they wouldn't exceed.

"You have to consider that contract is probably one of the most valuable contracts in the league," Higgins said. "The flexibility is the beautiful part of having Erick's deal, maybe not so much for Erick himself as a player, but for the franchise itself."

Carroll is a jump-shooter Charlotte traded to Dallas just 19 months ago, one of eight deals involving 26 players the Bobcats have made the since Larry Brown took over as coach at the start of the 2008-09 season. Najera will add depth to Charlotte's frontcourt.

It's a far different outcome for Charlotte than what was being discussed a day earlier.

The Bobcats had been closing in on a deal that would've sent Chandler and Boris Diaw to Toronto for Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans. Calderon would have provided Charlotte with a needed replacement for point guard Raymond Felton, who signed with New York on Monday.

While Higgins insisted the deal wasn't agreed upon, the Raptors seemed to think it was. Chandler wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Monday night that his agent had told him the deal was done, while Evans thanked Raptors fans on his Twitter page.

Instead, the 7-foot-1 Chandler goes to a more competitive team out West, while Diaw remains in Charlotte - for now.

"I never talked to Boris. No one from the Bobcats talked to Boris about him in the trade," Higgins said. "I can't speak for anybody else."

It marked the second time in less than two years Chandler had an apparent trade stopped. Oklahoma City voided a deal with the Hornets in 2009 when Chandler failed a physical.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 draft, Chandler was known in recent years for his alley-oop dunks from Chris Paul in New Orleans. But he also had durability concerns that spilled over in Charlotte after he was acquired for Emeka Okafor.

Foot and ankle injuries limited Chandler to 51 games last season and Brown started 37-year-old Theo Ratliff ahead of him late in the season and in the playoffs. Chandler averaged 6.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.

"We did the deal because we felt it was going to give us the opportunity to get better, if not today than down the road," Higgins said. "I think with Tyson when he came here I think unfairly for him there were probably a lot of expectations. Maybe he didn't get a chance to show what he can do."

The Mavericks have been searching to add a big man in the offseason. They get two when you include Ajinca.

The Bobcats gave up on Ajinca, whom they gave up this year's first-round pick to take in the 2008 draft. He played sparingly in two seasons.

"Alexis Ajinca is a fine young center with significant upside," Nelson said.

Higgins indicated the Bobcats aren't done dealing. Acquiring a point guard remains a priority after the Calderon deal fell through.

"With D.J. Augustin as our only point guard under contract, we know we have to get more depth," Higgins said. "We will try at the end of the day to improve that position. ... Our roster still has to take form."

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