Tyson Chandler isn’t the petty type of player who takes solace that the New York Knicks are struggling mightily without him.
Struggling after they claimed he was part of the team chemistry issues that doomed last year’s squad. That claim apparently led the Knicks to trade guard Raymond Felton and Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks on June 25.
Still, despite being made out to be one of the scapegoats of a Knicks team that failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, Chandler isn’t snickering at the Knicks’ dismal 5-21 record. After all, with a new coach in Derek Fisher and a new offense in the triangle, he saw some of this coming more than a thousand miles away.
“Clearly they’re struggling, but you knew they were going to take some lumps with a new coach, new offensive structure,” Chandler said. “The triangle takes some time to learn, so I was expecting it.
“I don’t know if anybody expected them to be where they are right now. But I expected them to take some lumps early on.”
This was not Chandler taking potshots at the franchise he spent the last three years working for. Nevertheless, the 7-foot-1 center is puzzled as to why new Knicks president Phil Jackson singled out him and Felton as the players who endured some chemistry issues with the Knicks, which led to the surprising trade to the Mavs.
“It was disappointing when I first heard anything, but I didn’t take anything from any of my teammates or the coaches that I played for,” Chandler said. “So I didn’t take it that personal from somebody who don’t know me.”
Chandler said he still has friends who play for the Knicks. And Felton said whoever said Chandler was a problem in the Knicks’ locker room obviously doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
“It was a whole lot made up when I left, but I enjoyed my time with my teammates, I enjoyed them, I enjoyed their families,” Chandler said. “I am close with a lot of their kids, my son is close with a lot of the guys’ boys over there, so I have no issues.
“Stuff was made up after I left. But while I was there, between me and the players that’s still there that I played with, there was nothing but love.”
Chandler doesn’t know how much of that love will translate to the New York fans when the Mavs (17-8) face the Knicks at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. However, he’s not up late at night worrying if a chorus of boos — directed at him — will come cascading from the rafters.
“I enjoyed the people when I was there, I believe that they enjoyed me,” Chandler said. “So [bad] reactions, that doesn’t matter.
“I get booed in every arena anyway, so I don’t know why things should be any different.”
If Chandler is concerned about negative crowd reaction, all he has to do is seek some advice from forward Chandler Parsons.
After spending his first three NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, Parsons signed a three-year, $46 million free agent contract with the Mavs last July. And when the Mavs played their first game in Houston last month, Parsons was lustily booed every time he touched the basketball.
“The emotions will be running high for him — I’ve obviously experienced it going back to Houston,’’ Parsons said. “You obviously hear [the boos], but you block it out as the game goes on.
“And once you get your feet wet, and you get to the basket and you knock down shots, you pretty much block it out, but you definitely hear it. He’s just got to play like it’s every other game and not think about it too much.”’
Actually, Chandler has stashed all the good —and bad — tidings he had with the Knicks far away in the back of his closet. It helped, also, that he scored 17 points and pulled down a season-high 25 rebounds when the Mavs defeated the Knicks in overtime in Dallas, 109-102.
“Some games are better than others. But this is going to be an important one for us because we’re coming off a loss and we need to make up some space.”
And if making up that space comes at the expense of his former team, then all the better for Chandler.
“I put [the Knicks career] in the rearview mirror a long time ago,” Chandler said. “Every game I step on the floor I’m going to get out there and give it my all.
“That doesn’t change from game to game.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760