Chandler lands in Big D
The Dallas Mavericks were looking for a quality big man to add depth to the frontcourt. Tyson Chandler brings playoff experience and NBA starter-caliber talent. It's a perfect fit, according to the 7-footer.
The Mavericks announced Wednesday that they had acquired Chandler and fellow center Alexis Ajinca from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for center Erick Dampier, forward Eduardo Najera and guard Matt Carroll. News of the five-player deal immediately brought a smile to Chandler's face.
"I'm very excited about it," the 27-year-old Chandler said. "When I heard about the trade, I was excited -- working out and jumping around. I'm definitely excited about being here. I had a great welcome and I'm ready to get to work.
"I've always felt like this is a great team. Now, to be on this team in this moment right now -- with the group of guys that they brought in last year, in addition to the guys that were already here -- I think it's a great combination."
The nine-year veteran, who appeared to be heading to Toronto in a three-team trade that broke off on Tuesday, is expected to play behind recently signed center Brendan Haywood. That doesn't bother Chandler one bit, now that he is on a team that can contend for a championship.
"I'm definitely fine with that. I think we all got the same goal in mind. We all want a championship here. So, to do that we all have to work together. Whatever my role is, that's what I'm willing to do," Chandler said.
And he has performed his role well in his previous stops.
With stints in Chicago and New Orleans before joining the Bobcats, the big man showed an ability to defend, rebound and score with spectacular finishes above the rim. The career 8.1-point scorer also averages 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 27.6 minutes.
"We could not be more excited to add Tyson Chandler," president of basketball operations and general manager Donnie Nelson said in a statement on Wednesday. "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."
Slowed by a stress reaction in his left foot during the 2009-10 campaign, Chandler played in just 51 games -- averaging 6.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. But now the former USA Today California Player of the Year at Dominquez High School, where he starred before entering the NBA straight from the prep ranks, is healthy and ready to return to form.
"This is the first summer in awhile that I've been healthy," he said. "I've been able to train -- I've been training since two weeks after the season and getting better and better. I'm healthy now, feeling great...I feel like I can definitely speed the pace up for us, as well as be an anchor defensively for us."
He will also get a chance to come into the team's training camp healthy and already in basketball shape, after representing his country in international play this summer. Wednesday, USA Basketball announced that the 7-foot-1, 235-pound center had been added to the 2010-12 USA Basketball Men's National Team roster. Joining some of the NBA's top players, Chandler will head to training camp for the squad from July 19-24 in Las Vegas.
"It'll be good to get some competition. A couple of years ago when I did it, it was one of the most exciting moments of my career -- just to be out there with those guys and compete everyday in practice. It will be good because it will be the best of the best out there. It's an incredible opportunity. Whenever you can explain to your kids that you played for the USA team, it's a wonderful achievement," Chandler explained.
But while representing the red, white and blue will be nice, he's already dreaming of playing in a Mavericks' uniform and catching an alley-oop lob pass from point guard Jason Kidd.
"I know he loves to reward his bigs," No. 6 said of playing with the legendary lead guard. "The one thing that I'm going to do is rebound, give (Kidd) the ball and run as fast as I can."
For all of your coverage of the Dallas Mavericks this offseason, visit Mavs.com. Follow Earl K. Sneed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EKS_MavsNBA.