NBA Free Agency: Utilizing the Mosaic Theory with Wilson Chandler


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

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

  • Siegel3407

    Do it Grant, DO IT!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I like Chandler!  Use FA to fill the void at SF then draft either a dynamic scoring SG or a big man.

  • mgbode

    don’t get me all excited like this.  love wilson chandler’s game.  he’s not a star by any measure, but he would definitely be a big upgrade on the wing for us.

    somebody get him Irving game-tapes stat.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Don’t toy with us Scott.  You know how emotionally wounded we all are.  This would be an awesome move though.

    I’m not sure what Byron would do with 3 SFs, but it’s a problem I’m sure he’d like to have.  He has said that he likes Gee more at the 3 than the 2, but he chooses to play Gee at the 2 over Casspi.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    Chandler showed a lot of yearly improvement under D’Antoni in New York. But he was pretty unimpressive with Denver once he got out of D’Antoni’s system. It could just have been an adjustment period. Or it could be he’s another system player. Either way, I’d still probably prefer picking up the SF of our future in the draft. I think you need higher upside as your starting SF to be an NBA Championship contender than what Chandler brings. 

    But I also wouldn’t complain if the Cavaliers signed him. The Cavs just need talent. Anywhere they can find it.

  • mgbode

    i agree that he’d likely put Gee at the 2.  It’s weird because Gee technically plays better at the 2, but the team plays worse when he’s there:

    it’s not like Casspi has a chance to stay in front of 2’s though

  • Josh

    The only thing that changed in Denver was his FG percent dropped about five percent. I think 22 games is too small to read much into that. He had some really good games in Denver. That said, the extra wins and drop in draft pick he would provide is just not worth it to me. After Sessions and Jamison are gone we still have a chance to fall into the bottom eight and have a shot at Lamb or Beal.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    I believe his scoring and efficiency dropped as well, but don’t know for sure off the top of my head. I just remember being less impressed with him in Denver. As I said, though, could have just been that adjustment period. 

  • mgbode

    I prefer elite SF to elite SG in general, but the way the draft is currently shaping up we will not have much of a chance at the elite prospect SFs.  But, the SGs with the highest ceilings could be there if we pick in the 7-10 range.  

    That’s why I like this idea.

  • Josh

    His scoring dropped a little, but it was bc of the fg percent drop. He also played about five less min a game I believe. I live in Denver and fully expected him to prove to be just a system product, but came away very impressed by him.

  • mgbode

    his scoring dropped by 2pts/36min, which perfectly aligns with the 5% drop in FG% (he took and made 1 less basket per 36min).

    his steals, assists, rebounds, blocks all remained consistent.  as did his FT% and the amount he was getting to the line.

    his turnover rate went up a bit and his FG% dropped 5%.

  • WFNYRick

    I have to admit to constantly getting Wilson Chandler and Tyson Chandler mixed up. I know, they are nothing like each other, but my mind just pulls a brain fart when trying to think of Wilson Chandler.

    The question I have is how is his defense? That would tell me a lot about whether the Cavs, and particularly Byron Scott has an interest in him.

  • mgbode

    pretty good on getting steals and blocks and playing at a fast pace.

    and he has always been a good on-ball defender.

  • mgbode

    pretty good on getting steals and blocks and playing at a fast pace.

    and he has always been a good on-ball defender.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    His eFG% dropped from .521 to .473 and his PER dropped from 15.7 to 11.6. As comparison, Omri Casspi’s PER last season was 11.7. 

    Wilson Chandler is a fine player. But the answer at SF he is not.

  • mgbode

    but as shown, the only thing that really dropped was his FG% (not even 3pt%).   everything else remained the same.

    so, it just leaves it as a question of adjustment period fitting into new system?  a small sample size lull?  or is he really that much better in D’Antoni’s system?  

    impossible to answer until he signs and plays elsewhere.    I agree he’s not an elite answer at SF.  But, if the FG% drop was a blip, then he can be an answer.  He’s good enough to start and plays good defense.  

    It would require having a star at SG (the rules really favor having a star player in at least one of the wing spots)

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    Right, but you’re acting like that wasn’t a significant drop. Something happened when he went to Denver. And I already said, it could be the adjustment or it could be the system. We don’t know.

    I’m not anti-Chandler. He’s a decent enough player. I just wouldn’t want to overstate his potential impact on the Cavaliers.

    Either way, though, it’s probably a moot point as Tom Reed just said on his Twitter that the Cavs aren’t going to get involved in trying to sign him to an offer sheet. 

  • Mark

    I’m laughing Rick because I do the same damn thing. Nice to know I’m not the only dumb one out there.

  • mgbode

    it would have concerned me more if the rest of his play had fallen off too.  but, as you said, likely a non-discussion.

  • Jaker

    do it do it do it do it do it. unless you are planning on getting MKG in the draft, this should happen. i watched plenty of Wilson Chandler when he was in NY. He’s the ideal SF who would love Kyrie and never need max contract $. Make this happen.

  • Jaker

    Chandler can also give us minutes at the 2 as well. he did that a lot with NY while Gallinari was in town and when Amare came in. He usually played the 2 at the end of games

  • mgbode

    we can plan on getting MKG in the draft all day, but we have probably already won too many games for that to happen.   unless we get a lucky lottery ball, again.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    He’d be a good add. I live in NYC, and since everything here is overhyped assumed I’d be unimpressed with Chandler – but when I watched him play, he was actually very good.

    I don’t think he’s a stud by any means, but he’s a very good rotation player/7th man or if the Cavs elect to get a big man or SG (most likely) in the draft, he’s a good 4th banana in the long run.

  • floydrubino

    I hope we at least check out the situation. He is a solid player who does have good athleticism that can run well and playing with kyrie might make him better.  We need talent upgrades in that position desperately. Even if we sign him we can still pick whomever in the draft because talent trumps everything. You can always play to your team’s strengths and if we are small and athletic than we roll with it. Harrison barnes and Wilson Chandler can co exist because kyrie will make it happen. I would much rather have talent rich roster than just filling spots. If you are filling spots than you don’t due this through the draft when you are passing over the supreme talents of the league. It is the gm’s responsibility to fill the roster with amazing talent and plug in holes via free agency.