Big Easy Buzz Blog - February 18, 2009

Chandler rejoins Hornets

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer,
The New Orleans Hornets announced today that center Tyson Chandler will return to the Hornets after the original trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder was rescinded. The Thunder’s medical staff failed to clear Chandler after the physical.

“We welcome Tyson back with open arms,” said Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower. “We went into this trade to garner more frontcourt depth to add to our team as we continue our push towards the playoffs. We expect Tyson and the rest of our big guys to step up to the challenge.”

Forward Joe Smith, center Chris Wilcox and the draft rights to center Devon Hardin will immediately rejoin the Thunder.

Chandler is averaging 8.8 points and 8.3 rebounds this season through 32 games (all starts). He averaged a career-best 11.8 points to go along with 11.7 rebounds in 79 games (all starts) for the Hornets last season.

Chandler will re-join the Hornets in Los Angeles before their game against the Lakers on Friday.

Byron Scott

[Questions from the New Orleans media, at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday]
Q: When did you find out that the trade had been reversed?
Scott: Just now.

Q: Are you shocked?
Scott: I knew it was a possibility. From talking to Jeff (Bower) yesterday, I knew it was possible. So I wasn’t too shocked.

Q: Is his ankle (in) worse (condition) than you thought?
Scott: I don’t know the results of (Oklahoma City’s) doctors taking a look at him. But like I said, he’ll be back here tomorrow, everyone will give him a big hug, and we’ll try to get ready for this next (road) trip.

Q: You talked about how happy you are to have him back, but are you still a little concerned about the frontcourt depth?
Scott: Definitely. I’m definitely concerned about it. I thought Jeff Bower made a good point to our guys that it was strictly a basketball decision, based on what we needed, and our disappointment in some of the guys we (already) have. That hasn’t changed. Obviously with Tyson coming back, we need to be a lot more focused, a lot more aggressive and a lot tougher than we have been in the first 50-plus games. We were able to do it with pretty much the same group last year, so there’s no reason why we can’t. It’s just a matter of guys being focused and determined to play big.

Q: Is there anything specific you say to Tyson?
Scott: I will say two words to him: Welcome back. Now let’s get healthy and get back to it.

Chris Paul
On his reaction to hear the Chandler trade was rescinded:
I’m excited. I’m happy to have him back. I hope he can hit the ground running. He’s still injured. I think he can give us a huge lift. Tyson is family to us, so there won’t be any animosity when he comes in here. He understands what’s been the goal all along.
I’m very shocked. I knew TC was injured and had some issues, but this happens sometimes. Now we get him back.

David West
On integrating Chandler back into the lineup:
We’ll get him re-acclimated. He’s only been gone a day. [grins]

On his reaction to hearing the Chandler trade was rescinded:
Obviously Oklahoma City didn’t feel he was healthy enough to pass their physical. We know he’s been banged up. But I thought that with the time he’s had to rehab his ankle, he’s feeling pretty good. He was itching to get back. As long as he continues to get healthy, we’ll have him for the stretch run that we need.
We’re comfortable with him. He was a guy we hated to see go. People were very attached to the guy. So it was a good feeling to know that you’re going to get a guy back – not only on the basketball court, but a guy you have a personal relationship with.

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has rescinded its trade with the New Orleans Hornets for center Tyson Chandler. The Thunder and the Hornets agreed on the deal, pending a physical, that would have sent Chandler to the Thunder in exchange for forward Joe Smith, forward Chris Wilcox and the draft rights to DeVon Hardin.
“We were pleased to add Tyson to the Thunder roster,” said Presti. “During the course of the physical examination and outside consultations some questions arose that gave us cause for concern. We felt that this course of action was the best for our organization.” postgame: Hornets 117, Magic 85

The Hornets traded their 7-foot-1 center on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday evening, they hosted the Magic and All-World pivotman Dwight Howard, setting the stage for a one-sided matchup in the paint, right? Well, not exactly. New Orleans (32-20) limited Howard to just two baskets, part of a surprisingly easy blowout victory over Southeast Division-leading Orlando (39-14).

Chris Paul turned in one of his best individual games of the season, piling up 36 points in the first three quarters. New Orleans ended up posting its highest point total of 2008-09, including 30 points or more in three separate quarters.

Byron Scott

ON GAME: “They make a living off throwing it into (Dwight) Howard and expecting teams to double team him. Then he (Dwight Howard) throws it out and they (Orlando) get a wide open look. We made a conscious effort this afternoon to relay to our team that we had to play (Dwight) Howard one-on-one and really try to take three-point shooters out of the game. The message to Hilton tonight was once the shot goes up don’t worry about rebounding, your main concern is to put your body on him (Dwight Howard) and don’t allow him to get in there and get offensive rebounds.
ON THE WIN” It goes back to Christmas Day when they beat the crap out of us, they beat us by 30. My message to them this morning was remember what they did to us last game and at least try to return the favor.”

David West
On the game: “You have to put this on (Chris Paul). He came out, he had (26) points in the first half. He had a lot of aggression. The last thing Coach (Scott) said to us was remember how these guys treated you on Christmas Day. And were able to feed off of that, come right out of the gate, give (Dwight) Howard different looks, and make him beat us from the free throw line. It worked in our favor.”

Chris Paul
On the game: “We knew we owed this team (Orlando) from the embarrassing loss they handed to us on Christmas Day. We knew we needed this win.”
On the game: “I know Orlando and how they want to defend the ball screen. They defended where Dwight (Howard) sits back in the lane, and they pretty much leave it up to me to shot. I came out, tried to be aggressive. Later in the game, I got the ball to Peja (Stojakovic) and to (David) West and those guys. We’re at our best when everybody gets involved.”