Remember in The Dog where Kramer breaks up with his girlfriend and Jerry and Elaine diss her and talk about how happy they are to see her go (I can’t believe someone hasn’t killed her yet!), but then Kramer decides to get back together with her and Jerry and Elaine have to eat their words? Yeah, that’s kind of where we’re at right now.
– We got Tyson Chandler for nothing. Nothing!
– What was New Orleans thinking? Tyson Chandler for Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith? I’m surprised they wanted anything at all!
– I always thought Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith were really the reasons this team is 13-41.
Seriously Joe and Chris. We didn’t mean all that. I know we were pumped about Tyson Chandler, but it wasn’t because you guys were leaving. But I guess we probably shouldn’t have said anything. Everybody knows the first break-up never takes.
But in the NBA, that’s not the case. This deal was done and done. “Pending a physical” pretty much means, “Which side of the clubhouse do you want your locker to be on?” Tyson Chandler was coming back to OKC. He’d even Twittered about it. Twitter! I plugged his website for crying out loud. But then the whole thing blew up over a turf toe. How about that for a wooden spoon to the krispy nads?
But here’s the thing: It’s not like our entire future hinged on Tyson Chandler. He was just a piece to the puzzle. Everyone could already see that our future was incredibly bright with Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook and company. While obviously adding Chandler to the mix made things much better much quicker, it’s not the end of the world. And in fact, we’re lucky this thing didn’t go through and all of sudden were sitting here with a lame big man making $11 million sitting on the end of the bench. We really don’t need another Robert Swift. We’ve got talented but injury-riddled big man covered, thanks.
You’ve got to assume this is a pretty serious injury. I don’t think Presti rescinds the deal over just a “lingering turf toe.” Not that a turf toe isn’t serious, because it definitely is, but it really needs a more serious-sounding name. (The official name is “Metatarsalphalangeal joint sprain.” That’s pretty good.) Chandler could have taken the whole rest of the season to rehab because OKC is out of the hunt and would have had the summer to heal. He just needed to be ready for next year. I don’t think this turf toe was “lingering.” I’m thinking it’s like bad. I’m thinking maybe it’s turned to gangrene or something. Maybe he doesn’t have a left foot at all anymore. Because that better be the case – I’d hate to have lost a quality player over something that could’ve healed with a few months off.
But unfortunately for Tyson – a guy that I really like – I have a feeling he’s got something that’s going to hurt him for a while. Metatarsalphalageal joint sprains aren’t to be taken lightly. And that would have been detrimental to OKC’s future building plans.
(And don’t buy the whole “karma” argument because if that were the case, the deal would have gone through and Chandler would have played six games this year, aggravated it, had offseason surgey and made $22 million off us and played in only six total games. THAT would have been karma.)
I think some people are pointing the finger at OKC and giving a Nelson-esque Ha-HA! but the folks whose faces should be red is the Hornets. Jeff Bower tried to shuffle a guy that was hurt to another team (intentional or not) and on top of it, he tried to justify the controversial deal to his fanbase by saying the Hornets simply needed more frontcourt depth and Chandler wasn’t enough. Maybe if he would have said up front that the move was made for financial reasons then this would be a little less awkward for them. Yeah Tyson, that thing I said about needing more depth and wanting to run more… you were always our guy… I was just saying words… we really like you. I swear. Please don’t hate me.
Side note: If we were looking for a rival, I think we may have found one. First, they don’t listen to us when we told them to stay here or they’d regret it. But they go home anyway and now they’re losing money like Charles Barkley at a blackjack table and might be moving soon. Oh, and some of their fans hate us because they think we “stole” their team. Whatever. Strike one. Then, they break our hearts on a huge night at the Ford Center on a Chris Paul buzzer beater. Strike two. And now, they try and pull a fast one by sending a hobbled big man to us to which the deal falls through. Strike three. Thanks for the memories NOLA. It’s on now.
One interesting angle reader jk points out:
“Here’s the major problem with the deal and its not about TC … The player that we were reportedly most intent about trading for was… John Salmons. He’s been traded. I don’t know where we go with our expiring (in 15 hours) assets–because had this happened 24 hours ago, it would have made sense to make the move with Sactown.”
I was never a fan of Salmons, but that’s interesting. Because Presti thought he had made his move and unloaded two coveted expiring contracts, you have to wonder how many deals he pulled off of as a result. Would John Salmons be in a Thunder uniform had the Chandler deal not have happened? Who else was Presti after that he turned off negotiations with? And the big question: Is he going to try and swing another deal with Wilcox and Smith or are we going to have the Kramer/Jerry situation in the locker room?
So you can really look at this thing two ways: This totally sucks OR wipe-the-forehead-we-dodged-a-bullet-here. Or I guess there’s a third option which is, “Back in the Blake sweepstakes baby!” But I look at it more as we dodged a bullet. Like I said, this thing is getting better. Tyson Chandler isn’t the only shot blocking, defensive minded center in the league that could fill the void for OKC. It just so happened we were able to give up very little to get him. No doubt it was a wonderful deal – but that’s for a healthy Tyson Chandler. Not for one that may or may not have a left foot.
Keep your heads up Thunder fans. Take a step back from the ledge. Everything is fine. Sure a *healthy* Chandler would have been a grand slam, but that doesn’t mean this whole building process is knocked off course. We’re still getting better and we still have a tremendous core of young players that includes one of the top five or six players in the entire league. And who knows, Presti may have a Plan B that he’s about to punch the button on. I have a feeling something is going to happen. For Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox and the overall awkwardness of this situation’s sake, I sure hope it does.