The Phoenix Suns released Tyson Chandler at the perfect time for the Los Angeles Lakers, who were in desperate need of a serviceable big man just 10 games into the regular season. Some around the league might even say the timing was a little too perfect.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN spoke to an anonymous NBA executive who said new Suns general manager James Jones might have released Chandler knowing that his good friend and former teammate LeBron James was in need of a center.
There’s one working theory of why the Suns granted Chandler the buyout now instead of in February or March when the traditional wave of buyouts occur: Phoenix interim GM James Jones was a longtime teammate of LeBron’s in Miami and Cleveland.
”James did LeBron a solid,” a league source told ESPN.
When presented with the claim, LeBron said it was really Chandler who benefited the most.
”He deserves all the credit,” he told ESPN of Jones. “He was very instrumental. He did right by Tyson as a veteran.”
James and Jones were teammates for seven seasons, starting in 2010 when James signed with the Miami Heat and ending when Jones retired with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017. During that time, they made seven consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and won three NBA championships.
Jones was never the biggest name on any of the teams he and James were on together, but he quickly became one of James’ favorite teammates. When James hangs up his sneakers and lives out his dream of owning an NBA team, he said wants Jones by his side then too.
He then added more praise on Jones, whom he once called his “favorite player of all time” by telling ESPN that whenever he owns an NBA team down the line, he is saving a spot for Jones in his front office.
”I told him he needs an opt-out clause wherever he’s at,” James said with a smile.
Hopefully their close bond leads to the Lakers and the Suns making mutually beneficial moves in the near future. Former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley for Devin Booker, anyone?
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