When the Dallas Mavericks acquired center Tyson Chandler in a trade with Charlotte in the summer of 2010, he developed into the finishing piece to their championship season.
Last summer when the Mavs acquired Chandler in a trade with the New York Knicks, they went into negotiations depending on him to be more of a defensive centerpiece.
It’s a challenge the 14-year veteran accepted with open arms.
Five summers ago when the Mavs acquired Chandler, they had just given Brendan Haywood a lucrative contract presumably to be their starting center. However, Chandler wound up beating out Haywood for the starting job and was the defensive glue that helped the Mavs win the 2011 title.
“That [2010-11] team was a ready-made team and just needed me in different areas,” Chandler said. “This team needs me now, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Chandler has a history of injuries, and has missed six games this season — three due to a left hip injury, one because of back spasms, one for a sprained left ankle and another one just for rest.
But with the playoffs set to start in eight days, Chandler claims he’s a picture of good health.
“I’ve been doing some extra training and some extra preparations with the training staff just gearing myself to get ready,” Chandler said. “If I go in [the playoffs] healthy I know what I’m capable of doing.”
With the Mavs (47-31) set to play the Denver Nuggets (29-49) at 8 p.m. Friday at the Pepsi Center, coach Rick Carlisle plans to rest players such as Chandler — and others — at some point during these final four regular-season games.
But he’s not sharing that information.
It’s probably a good guess that some players will not be playing both ends of a back-to-back Sunday and Monday when the Mavs complete this three-game road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz.
That likely will include Chandler.
However, with the next three games coming against non-playoff teams — meaning the Mavs could reach the 50-win plateau — they must decide if much-needed rest or the 50 wins are more important.
“This franchise has a lot of 50-win seasons over the last 15 years or so,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “That’s a nice thing, but if it doesn’t happen I’d rather go in the playoffs fresh with maybe if Tyson needs a night off or if Monta [Ellis] needs a night off.
“I think that’s more important than winning 50 games.”
Chandler plans to talk with Carlisle so they can determine what’s more beneficial to the Mavs, winning 50 games or getting ample rest going into the postseason.
“I’ll talk to Coach and the training staff and see what their thoughts are,” Chandler said. “You always want to be out. But I think clearly the most important thing is that we’re healthy and playing good going into the playoffs.”
And that especially means having Chandler fresh and healthy during the most important part of the season.
Small forward Chandler Parsons will miss his third consecutive game Friday night as he continues to deal with swelling in his right knee.
Parsons is on this three-game road trip, and management is hoping he’ll be able to play in at least one of the remaining two games before the Mavs return home to finish the regular season Wednesday against Portland.
“He did some shooting today — probably the most he’s done to this point,” Carlisle said. “There are some promising signs.
“We’ll see how he responds [today]. This is something that’s going to be monitored day-to-day, and if we can get him in a game or two games before the regular season is over, then we’d like to do that.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760