With the Phoenix Suns reportedly buying out Tyson Chandler’s contract, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to sign the veteran big man to add more depth to the team’s center rotation, a new report has claimed.
On Saturday, New York Times NBA reporter Marc Stein tweeted that the Suns are “in the process of buying out” the 36-year-old Chandler, who was mainly used as Phoenix’s starting center since he joined the team ahead of the 2015-16 season, but recently started coming off the bench for Deandre Ayton, the Suns’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. This was followed up later in the day by a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who confirmed that the Suns had just come to terms with Chandler and will be buying out the final year of his contract.
Citing league sources, Wojnarowski added that Tyson Chandler is hoping to sign with the hometown Los Angeles Lakers once he clears waivers. If he ends up joining the team as expected, Chandler will likely come off the bench for the resurgent JaVale McGee, who is averaging 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.2 blocked shots as the Lakers’ starting center.
Currently, McGee’s top backup is Johnathan Williams, a 6-foot-9 undrafted rookie out of Gonzaga University who is signed to a two-way contract that limits him to only 45 days with the Lakers. Third-year man Ivica Zubac has also come off the bench for McGee, and so has Kyle Kuzma, a natural forward whose attempts at playing in the middle “didn’t [lead] to positive results,” as Lakers Nation opined.
ESPN story on Phoenix's Tyson Chandler agreeing to join the Lakers as a backup center upon clearing waivers. https://t.co/q5spIygqPQ— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 3, 2018
In seven games with the Suns, Chandler is averaging 3.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in just 12.7 minutes per game, according to his Basketball-Reference player page. The former second overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft has averages of 8.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game over an 18-year career that has included one NBA championship, one All-Star Game, three All-Defensive Team selections, and one Defensive Player of the Year award.
While Tyson Chandler is expected to give the Lakers a much-needed veteran presence in the middle, Bleacher Report predicted that joining a team with so little depth at center could allow him to get a little more playing time as a reserve, as he could end up playing about 15 to 20 minutes per game while relieving McGee. The publication added that Chandler’s buyout could open up opportunities for some of the Phoenix Suns’ younger big men, including Dragan Bender, who is averaging just one point and 3.5 minutes in four games, two years after the Suns made him the fourth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.