Mavericks glad Chandler back to protect their rim

Posted Thursday, Jun. 26, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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That buzz that permeated the area when Tyson Chandler left the Dallas Mavericks via free agency in 2011 has returned.

Only this time it’s much more positive now that Chandler is back where Mavs fans thought he should always have been.

Chandler was the emotional leader and one of the guiding forces when the Mavs won their only NBA title three years ago. The 7-foot-1 center provided the defensive presence and rim protection the Mavs used to vault past the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.

Following that championship season, however, Chandler left the Mavs via free agency and signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the New York Knicks.

But the Mavs and Chandler are back together again after they acquired the 13-year veteran and point guard Raymond Felton from the Knicks on Wednesday for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and the 34th and 51st picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Coach Rick Carlisle is more than elated to have Chandler back in his role as his team’s defensive vacuum cleaner.

“He’s been here and we know him and he knows us,” Carlisle said. “And he knows the culture of this organization and what it’s about, and when he steps on the floor the first exhibition game, there’s going to be a buzz.

“The guy is such an injection of enthusiasm and energy and he’s such a good player. There have been few players that I’ve seen in 30 years in this league that have become so respected and so beloved in a market as Tyson has here in one year.”

Chandler, who was the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, is ecstatic about his reunion with the Mavs and the possibilities of helping Dallas win another championship.

“I enjoyed my entire time with the Mavericks and it was a sad process for me and my family leaving Dallas, especially after the amazing experience and amazing run that we had,” Chandler said. “As I left I told those guys, ‘You know, I love you and I’ll love you forever and I love everything you have done for me and did for me.’

“And I understand the business and I guess it wasn’t meant for me. But I guess it is meant for me to be back now.”

News of Chandler’s return has excited Mavericks fans, who are eager for him to be reunited on the frontline with Dirk Nowitzki.

“I’ve gotten tons of text messages from people just excited to see him back,” Carlisle said. “And so again, it just sets up real well for our team.

“He complements Dirk extremely well, he’s a great runner, screener, rim protector. He just has that exuberant enthusiasm that’s infectious and it rubs off on everybody.”

Donnie Nelson, Mavs president of basketball operations, refused to admit if the acquisition of Chandler gives the Mavs an inside track on acquiring Knicks free-agent small forward Carmelo Anthony, who has Dallas on his short list of free-agent stops.

“[Because of NBA rules] I can’t name names besides Dirk, because he’s our own,” Nelson said. “I can only mention [Nowitzki] on an extension basis.

“Regardless of the names out there, I think we became a much more viable and popular destination.”

Dwain Price 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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