LaMarcus Aldridge is the undisputed prize of 2015 NBA free agency. However, only one franchise can acquire his services, and the teams who miss on Aldridge must have a “Plan B.”
Defensive standout Tyson Chandler was considered the backup option for several rosters, but the 7-footer will sign with the Phoenix Suns, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Tyson Chandler has agreed to a deal with the Suns, league source tells Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2015
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the deal is worth $52 million over four years.
And so, instead of Chandler being Plan B, he’s part of something more specific: A sales pitch. Wojnarowski writes Phoenix is “bringing Tyson Chandler into the meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge.”
Granted, the Suns must shed at least $20 million in salary to sign Aldridge under the salary cap. According to HoopsHype numbers and the contract figures for Chandler and Brandon Knight, Phoenix has no room to sign Aldridge.
Regardless, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks—Chandler’s former team—were possible landing spots for the 2011-12 Defensive Player of the Year. The San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers seemed like intriguing spots, too.
But those teams struck out on Chandler. More specifically, the Spurs and Mavericks must swiftly move to Plan C if they don’t sign Aldridge, while the Mavs and Clippers may need to find an alternative to DeAndre Jordan.
San Antonio essentially sold out for the Aldridge sweepstakes, dumping Tiago Splitter’s $8.5 million contract on the Atlanta Hawks, per Wojnarowski. One of—if not both of—the Mavericks or Clippers will fail to sign Jordan, so they’ll plunge into the dwindling frontcourt market.
Nice get by Phoenix. Huge pressure on the Clips to re-sign DeAndre now. Not many viable alternatives left.
— Alec Nathan (@AlecBNathan) July 1, 2015
Once Aldridge and Jordan reveals their respective intentions, the top remaining free-agent post players is Greg Monroe. Behind the former Detroit Pistons power forward, though, the pickings get quite slim.
Robin Lopez, David West and Josh Smith represent the next tier of available targets, while Brandan Wright and Jordan Hill round out the meaningful options. Omer Asik, Kosta Koufus, Ed Davis, Brandon Bass and Amar’e Stoudemire would be desperation signings for a top-flight team.
The outlook is already grim enough that ESPN’s Tim MacMahon suggests Dallas could reach out to the Indiana Pacers and acquire Roy Hibbert, a mediocre center due $15.5 million (h/t HoopsHype) in the final year of his contract.
Chandler’s free-agent domino was not expected to fall until Aldridge’s and Jordan’s official destinations leaked. Instead, Chandler agreed to a contract and subsequently eliminated the best backup plan NBA franchises had in case they missed out on a pair of elite big men.
Photo: USA Today Sports