Down the Road, Could Mavs Play Tag With Tyson Chandler?

There is a sense of concern in the Mavericks organization in regards to the uncertainty of the new Collective-Bargaining Agreement.  If that were not the case, they would ignore any hesitations they would have on Stephen Jackson or other big names that have been mentioned in various trade rumors.  Many believe that a hard salary cap will come into play and that could make things difficult for the Mavericks when it comes to the future. 

They have a reason for their concern, they have the pressing issue of trying to retain Tyson Chandler and keeping him a Maverick for the foreseeable future.  During the early part of the season when the Mavericks were rolling on all cylinders, Chandler emerged as the anchor for the defense as well as the team's new emotional leader.  His performance garnered comparisons to Kevin Garnett's arrival in Boston where Garnett re-invented the Celtics' overall defensive mindset.  Although the Mavericks have slipped some defensively over the past few weeks, there is no denying that Chandler has delivered a physical and psychological presence that has invigorated the Dallas defense.

Chad Ford of ESPN.com presented the idea that could potentially be a short-term answer to the Mavericks prayers, the franchise tag.  The owners would like to see that become an addition to the new CBA.  It is used in the NFL and is seen as more owner-friendly versus player-friendly.  The tag is a useful tool for small-market teams to retain their star players but teams like the Mavericks could find value in the tag to easily secure Chandler, buy more time and adjust their collective approach going forward based on the new CBA.

The Mavericks have only won three out of their last 10 games but a victory against the Los Angeles Lakers last week could go a long way in helping as the team recovers from their current woes.  "It just seemed like guys were sick of losing," Chandler said.  One thing is for sure, Chandler was sick in general as he missed back-to-back games due to a major case of the flu.  Despite missing those games, the big man knew he had to find a way to be out there on the court and help his teammates. 

When Chandler arrived from Charlotte over the summer, many believed he was an extension of Erick Dampier's value as an expiring contract.  Clearly, they received much more than that.  Chandler's 18.9 rebounding percentage (leads the team) has him ranked 10th in the entire league.  Also, Chandler has a Win Share total of 5.2.  Win shares are an estimate of the number of wins generated for the team.  That 5.2 total actually has him as the highest ranked Maverick in that department, slight ahead of Dirk Nowitzki (5.0).  The fact that Chandler has stunned many with his health and impact on the roster, the question then becomes, how are the Mavericks going to be able to keep him?

The organization is aware that improving the team is a majority priority.   They will be making their calls around the league to see if anything is available before the trade deadline but the big picture is still centered on keeping their center.  They want to be sure to avoid shooting themselves in the foot by taking on a major contract thus restricting their chances of re-upping with Chandler during the summer. 

It is likely that a transition into the new CBA will be manufactured with a "grandfather" process but that does not change the fact that it is in the Mavericks' best interest to give themselves some form of wiggle room.  The franchise tag is not a given but if it does come into play, the Mavericks could consider using it.

 

Note: Peja Stojakovic arrived in Dallas on Sunday and the Mavericks are expecting to sign him to a deal once he clears waivers on Monday afternoon.  Before that can happen, the NBA must sign off on the trade of Alexis Ajinca to Toronto. Despite multiple teams asking for the league to check out possible violations between the Mavericks and Raptors on the trade, the deal is expected to be approved on Monday.  If for some reason it is not approved, the Mavericks would likely waive a player to facilitate the arrival of Stojakovic.  

The team is hopeful he can take part in Monday's practice, but if the Ajinca trade isn't approved, he will not be able to participate.  That won't stop him from being an observer so he can understand the schemes the Mavericks like to execute on both sides of the floor.

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