Wilson Chandler, the dynamic small forward known most recently for his overseas play, is looking to get back into the NBA. Smart money has been placed on the former Knicks first-round pick heading back to Denver where he provided 13 points and five rebounds per game after being dealt in the Carmelo Anthony trade last season.
And while it is assumed he would prefer flexibility, desiring the opportunity to hold the cards — as most free agents do — Chandler is presently a restricted free agent living in a new world where luxury spending costs more and most teams are looking to shed salary instead of taking it on. Chandler, like most 24-year old professional athletes, would like a long-term contract. If Denver balks at this idea, he can entertain offers from other franchises until one week from today, before being relegated to Denver for the remainder of the season.
Adding to the mix is Chandler’s agent who states his client is presently talking with six NBA teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers, a team currently looking for a dynamic scorer from the wing, are presently one of three teams* with the salary cap space ($7.1 million) that allows them to send an offer sheet Chandler’s way.
Not only could the Cavaliers offer Chandler more money this season, but with the contract of Antawn Jamison slated to come off of their books at year-end, a longer-term deal could certainly be in the mix. Couple all of this with the team potentially sliding down in the lottery enough to focus their efforts on big men like Myers Leonard or either Zeller brother, addressing the wing via free agency may not be a misguided concept, as unsubstantiated as this specific possibility may be.
Through Chandler’s career, he has provided scoring averages in the teens while showing ample skill on the boards. His style of play — one that could provide a steal, a blocked shot and a three-ball on any given night — fits in well with Byron Scott’s offense. A 6-foot-8-inch, 220-pound frame, Chandler is athletic enough to run and big enough to defend opposing wings. And here is where it’s worth mentioning that he’s only 24-years old. Sure, this is considerably older than the 19-year-old Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or the 20-year-old Harrison Barnes, but if those two players are becoming pipe dreams, the Cavaliers front office could do a lot worse than Wilson Chandler.
*The other two are the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings
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