The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Tuesday that they have officially signed Tyson Chandler. The veteran center agreed to a buyout with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, and after no team claimed him over the two-day waivers process, he was free to sign with his hometown team.
Chandler reportedly gave up $2.1 million of the $13.5 million he had remaining on his contract in his buyout, which is right around the veteran’s minimum for a player of 10 years or more of experience ($2.3 million). When factoring in that the minimum will be prorated for the rest of the season, Chandler will likely be making almost exactly the same amount of money to play for the Lakers this season as we would’ve gotten with the Suns.
That should be a solid upgrade in situation with no financial downside for Chandler, who will give the Lakers an upgrade in their center rotation as well in a few of the areas they’re weakest. He will help a team that has struggled to defend without fouling do exactly that, as he’s ranked in the 80th percentile or better of the league in foul percentage for the last four seasons.
Additionally, two of the Suns’ three best lineups in point differential last year featured Chandler, who may not be what he once was but can still play. One of those lineups had a 40.3 percent offensive rebound percentage, meaning the Lakers should get a boost on the glass as well.
Chandler will also help the Lakers with their defensive rebounding woes, as while he only played 385 possessions this season because of the Suns’ addition of Deandre Ayton, but the team only gave up a 21.7 percent offensive rebounding percentage to their opponents with him on the floor.
For comparison’s sake, the Lakers are giving up a 28.4 percent offensive rebounding percentage this season, and (unexpectedly) are even worse with JaVale McGee on the floor (29.9 percent with McGee on vs. 26.1 percent with him off, per Cleaning the Glass).
Perhaps more important than any of that, though, is the shot in the arm Chandler’s presence looks set to give the Lakers’ locker room. He is one of the most respected veterans in the NBA, and just having another traditional center who can play both ends effectively may help the Lakers feel like they have more of a chance every night.
“I love the fact that we’re going to get another veteran. A guy who plays hard, and a guy who’s very smart, and another champion to add to the champions that we have,” LeBron James told reporters after the Lakers’ win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. “That adds depth in our frontcourt, which we’ve had trouble with at times. Between (Ivica Zubac), Tyson, JaVale (McGee) and (Johnathan Williams), we’re pretty good.”
Chandler will fill the Lakers’ 15th and final open roster spot for now, meaning that if the team wants to make another move this season, it will have to come as a trade or coupled with a cut.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.