Tyson Chandler wasn’t exactly pleased with the way the Dallas Mavericks viewed him – twice – during free agency.
But the business of basketball aside, coach Rick Carlisle believes Chandler’s jersey should be retired and hanging in the American Airlines Center rafters once his playing days are over. And that’s despite the fact that Chandler only played two seasons for the Mavericks.
"What he did for this franchise, really in both years, was special,’’ Carlisle said after Wednesday morning’s shootaround. "And this past summer was a by-product of the high-stakes things that you go through in this league, the risks that you take.
"We attempted to get the team significantly younger, it didn’t work out and he decided to leave. That was certainly his prerogative.’’
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The way Chandler sees it, he got bit twice by the Mavericks.
After Chandler helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title, he and the team failed to reach an agreement on a new contract when he became a free agent, and they signed him and traded him to the New York Knicks. The Mavericks subsequently reacquired Chandler from the Knicks in June of 2014 while he had one year remaining on his contract.
However, this past summer the Mavericks pulled out all the stops in an effort to sign Los Angeles Clippers free agent center DeAndre Jordan. Feeling jilted by the Mavericks – again – Chandler reached out and struck a deal with Phoenix and thus signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Suns.
"Tyson is one of the most special people that I’ve met in my 33 years in this profession,’’ Carlisle said. "I’m close to him and he knows how I feel about him.
"He has every right to feel the way that he feels. He is truly one of the all-time great Mavericks in history – there’s just to no doubt about it.’’
Chandler averaged 10.1 points and 9.4 rebounds for the Mavericks during the 2010-’11 championship season. Then he averaged 10.3 points and 11.5 rebounds last year for the Mavs.
Chandler was the Mavericks’ leader on and off the court and helped established a defensive culture that had been non-existent before his arrival in Dallas.
"We have nothing but the utmost respect for him,’’ Carlisle said. "It’s my hope, and this of course is not my decision or anything else, that one day he will get consideration to have his number retired here.
"I think he deserves that consideration.’’
Carlisle said the admiration he has for Chandler is shared by owner Mark Cuban.
"I know Mark really has great respect for him even though the way things went twice, there are people that feel that he doesn’t,’’ Carlisle said. "But I know that Mark has a lot of respect for Tyson and a lot of gratitude for what he did for us, as do I and as do our fans.’’
Cuban decides which players jerseys are retired.
"I don’t have a vote, but if I did, and I’m not lobbying for a vote, because that’s for owners to do,’’ Carlisle said. "But this is just my opinion -- and you’re asking for my opinion -- so I’m going to give you my opinion.
"My opinion is that he’s worthy and more than worthy based on history. Just because he’s such a special person on top of it.’’
Chandler and the Suns (3-2) face the Mavericks (0-5) tonight at 7:30. It will be a special moment for Carlisle to visit with one of his all-time favorite players.
"It’s bittersweet seeing him,’’ Carlisle said. "I know he’s in a good situation, I know he’s really going to help Phoenix.
"He’s a franchise-changer.’’
A franchise-changer who never wanted to leave the Mavericks in 2011 or this past summer.
"We were close, but we couldn’t get there, and he got us over the top in 2011,’’ Carlisle said. "New York was a perennial non-playoff team and he went there and injected a lot of life there, and he and (Jason) Kidd got them to the playoffs.
"He came back here and we were a 50-win team. Now he’s going to Phoenix and he’ll drastically impact their culture in a very positive way. He’s a very special player.’’
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