Dallas Mavericks

Tyson Chandler wanted to leave a legacy in Dallas

Former Mavericks center Tyson Chandler made his first visit back to Dallas since signing a free-agent contract with the Phoenix Suns in July.
Former Mavericks center Tyson Chandler made his first visit back to Dallas since signing a free-agent contract with the Phoenix Suns in July. Special to the Star-Telegram

From Tyson Chandler’s viewpoint, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a shrewd businessman who has made just two mistakes during his numerous business deals over the years.

Unfortunately for Chandler, both of them – according to Chandler – involved him.

With his emotions stacked squarely on his shoulders, Chandler was frank about his odd two-time marriages – and pair of divorces – with the Mavs. He knows he gave so much to this organization, but it seemed like it was never enough.

“I may have one of the weirdest cases in NBA history,” said Chandler, in his first year as the Phoenix Suns’ center. “When all of it was happening, to be quite honest, I said before it wasn’t about the money, the offer or anything like that.

“The part that I was frustrated with was the legacy that I wanted to leave here with this city and the organization. And at the time I felt like I was robbed of that. And that’s what hurts the most. It took awhile to get over that, to be quite honest.”

His free agency process was weird because Chandler knows he was a big key to the Mavs winning the 2011 NBA title. The fans embraced him, the city embraced him, the owner embraced him, and the coaching staff embraced him.

Chandler was a free agent after the 2010-11 season ended. And when contract negotiations stalled, the Mavs sent him to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal.

Fast-forward three years, and the Mavs acquired Chandler in a trade from the Knicks in June of 2014. But after yet another productive season with the Mavs, negotiations again hit a snag during free agency and Chandler signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the Suns.

“I didn’t expect it to go the way it did,” Chandler said. “I honestly thought this time it was going to be for the long haul, but it played out the way it did and sometimes that’s business.

“Whenever it was time to start communicating I knew at that point, after like a couple of days of that, I knew it was time to move on.”

The Mavs had pegged Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan as their No. 1 free agent choice, and had hoped Chandler would wait around and see how that scenario played itself out. Chandler, though, had other ideas.

When asked before Wednesday’s preseason game between the Mavs and Suns if he thought about waiting to see the conclusion of what would transpire between the Mavs and Jordan, Chandler said: “No, never, never, because I didn’t feel like I needed to be second fiddle to anybody. I felt like I didn’t deserve that.

“I felt like I had accomplished a lot in this league and I wasn’t going to play second fiddle to anybody.”

Chandler, 33, didn’t like the way his departure from the Mavs went down. Especially since during the team’s exit interviews last April, all indications were that he was returning to the Mavs,

Then, the free agency period started on July 1, and Chandler started getting bad vibes from the Mavs.

“He has a right to be upset,” Cuban said. “I said it before, if I were him I’d be upset.

“At the beginning of the season we tried to do an extension and they rightfully were smart and said we’d rather wait because that gives us an extra year.”

The other part which gnawed at Chandler was the fact that he predicted the Mavs were chasing a player (Jordan) whom he believe never was going to leave the Clippers to play for them.

“To be quite honest I was surprised that DeAndre [verbally] committed [to the Mavs] because I personally felt that he was going to go back to the Clippers the whole time,” Chandler said. “I never thought he was coming here. It just didn’t make sense.

“They were close [in Los Angeles] to winning a championship, he was going to get the same amount of money, he had created something there with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and I thought they would finish that out.

“As an athlete, as a competitor, I thought that would be something that they would finish out, so I never saw him coming here.”

When told of Chandler’s prediction, Cuban said: “So they turned out to be right, and I think that created part of the confusion.

“But there was never any disrespect. Tyson is first class every which way, shape and form. There is no possible way I can ever say anything negative about him. It just happened the way it happened.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. on dfwiradio.com.