Our (not-so) long, regional nightmare is over. Tyson Chandler has reportedly decided not to exercise the option in his contract that would have allowed him to forego the last year on his contract and become a free agent tomorrow. Tyson is due $12.6 million in 2010-11 to finish off the contract he signed years ago with New Orleans.
Caught up in the Summer of 2010 Free Agency Frenzy, Chandler’s camp leaked word to the media a few weeks back that he was considering opting out and testing free agency. The argument for doing so was likely two-pronged.
1) So many teams have made so much cap space this summer that one or two are likely to whiff on the big name players (coughKnickscough) and then scramble to spend their money on second (or third) tier free agents. So in effect, yes, Tyson was eyeing Lebron’s sloppy seconds. Additionally, he may have been hoping the Cats would simply resign him to a new long-term deal, a la what Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce are doing this summer. And…
2) A long term contract negotiated this summer may be better than one negotiated next summer, as the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is due to be renegotiated in time for next summer and will likely limit some of the financial/contractual perks that players currently enjoy.
Chandler opting out would have been a Catch-22 for the Cats. Basically, it’s tough to lose a starter to free-agency without compensation, especially a starting big man. Nazr Mohammed and Theo Ratliff played center-by-committee admirably last year when Chandler was out, and we’re all hoping we can get something out of Alexis Ajinca this year, but to lose Tyson outright to free agency would have left us weakened down low.
On a positive note, it would have opened up a chunk of room under the salary cap with which to sign a free agent. But for what? The position that the Cats most need to upgrade at is PG, and there aren’t any decent free agent PGs out there.
So it looks like Tyson will be collecting his $12.6 million from the Cats while roaming the paint at the Cable Box next year.
Or will he?
It’s been widely rumored that the Cats are looking to deal this summer. Makes sense, it’s the only avenue we have to upgrade/remix the roster. And a decent, reasonably useful, legitimately-sized center on a big expiring contract is just the kind of guy that other teams would likely be willing to trade for.
Chandler for Monta Ellis + a future pick, anyone?