The Los Angeles Lakers have rich history at the center position. The team entered the 2018-19 NBA season with JaVale McGee being the only big man they had. The Lakers had Moritz Wagner and Ivica Zubac, but they were not as awesome as McGee. Tyson Chandler arrived at the right time.
Wagner had a knee contusion at Las Vegas Summer League and was still recovering from it. He could not be too productive at the beginning of the season. Zubac’s season did not go well either. The Lakers lacked size, and decided to re-sign Jonathan Williams to a two-way contract right after waiving him. Signing Tyson Chandler was the right way to go.
Chandler secured a buyout from the Suns and cleared waivers. His signing at this point of the season was a surprise. It was only possible thanks to LeBron James and Suns interim general manager James Jones.
Ken Berger of Bleacher Report reported that LeBron had a contact with Jones to convince the Suns to buy out Tyson Chandler a bit earlier.
“The ship had long since sailed on the idea that Chandler would be a part of any sort of championship pursuit in Phoenix, but at least he could serve as a role model and mentor to No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton. And that was the plan…until LeBron called in a favor,” he explained.
“They could have bought him out at the trade deadline and gotten great leadership and mentoring for two-thirds of the season. But LeBron wanted him now,” a rival exec told Bleacher Report.
The Lakers now have a veteran center who provided an immediate impact. Chandler will definitely be someone they will rely on heavily throughout the season. It will be nice to see them playing the next few games. Chandler had his debut a day after he arrived in the team.