The Los Angeles Lakers never hid their interest in former Phoenix Suns veteran big man Tyson Chandler. But it seems they had some major competition in the push to sign him after his buyout from Suns. As Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reported, there was five teams interested in signing Chandler.
After Chandler had narrowed it down to two, Ganguli reveals he picked the Lakers over the Golden State Warriors.
It’s certainly interesting to hear, especially considering what the addition of Chandler to a stacked Warriors roster may have meant. He would have been a strong addition to Golden State, even when DeMarcus Cousins is able to return. With the Warriors’ big four of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, adding Chandler to that mix would have been scary for the rest of the league.
LeBron James’ Reported Favor to Land Chandler
Shortly after Chandler had signed with the Lakers, it came to light that Lakers star LeBron James reportedly called in a favor to Phoenix Suns vice president of basketball operations James Jones. Per Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger:
[Not buying out Chandler until after the trade deadline] was the plan…until LeBron called in a favor. It’s no coincidence that the facilitator was Suns vice president of basketball operations James Jones, a close friend and longtime teammate of James.
“They could have bought him out at the trade deadline and gotten great leadership and mentoring for two-thirds of the season,” a rival executive told B/R. “But LeBron wanted him now.”
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported a similar bit of news, stating that “James did LeBron a solid,” according to a league source. Obviously, it came down to Chandler’s decision in the end regardless, although Jones did help set the veteran up to find a new home where he could potentially compete for a title.