Just as obvious as this move appears to be, though, is the hole that Chandler fills on the roster.
In a press release from the team, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka addressed what the Lakers are getting in Chandler, and the process of making the move; including one nugget that really speaks well to those who hope Luke Walton sticks around for a while longer (emphasis mine).
“Having observed our roster for the first 10 games of this young season, one of the areas that Earvin and I discussed with Luke that we desired to upgrade is interior defense and rebounding,” Pelinka said in a statement. “In Tyson Chandler we addressed that need, and so much more. We are excited that Tyson will bring championship-level experience to our Lakers team that will solidify our veteran leadership and help positively shape our young core. We are thrilled for Tyson to join us as we progress towards our ultimate goals as a team.”
What Chandler brings to the table has been well-charted territory, so there’s no point in going over that again. Though if you’re looking for a specific preview, we have you covered.
The fact that Pelinka and Johnson both worked with Walton and apparently factored his contribution into the math that led to the signing is the kind of action that should get more attention than even the fiery headlines that have swirled around the Lakers since the now infamous meeting between the president of basketball operations and head coach.
With all well-run organizations, feedback between executives and coaches is not only consistent, but takes place on a two-way street. In a case like this, where the frustration goes both ways between front office and head coach, there should have always been a common ground upon which to find a solution. It seems the Lakers have found it.
Magic Johnson is apparently frustrated with the defense. Luke Walton is probably frustrated with the center rotation. Hey look at that! A center who can step in and immediately fix some of that is now available! Let’s go get him! And voila, Tyson Chandler now gives the Lakers the NBA-caliber backup center they simply did not have before his arrival.
Now, though, there is one less excuse for Walton. The roster makes a lot more sense now, and with Chandler now a part of that rotation, Magic is going to start really looking for results — tepid assurances aside.