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The (Twenty) Million Dollar Man

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As you all know by now, there’s a lot of new math being done on a lot of Mavericks blogs across the NBA the last few days, because nearly everyone is reaching roughly the same conclusion. As the always straight-talking Mike Fisher, and the always wise David Lord, over at Dallasbasketball.com pointed out a few days ago, in a tremendous column that everybody should read---we mostly all figured that Tyson wanted a contract on this side of reasonable. Something like ten million a year for as long as he wants to make that much/ as long as the CBA allows.Maybe a little more. My take on the math is roughly what J-Ace figures in his excellent column below.

And we were mostly blaming the Mavs for not already being there. Because, again we expected that Tyson was expecting something reasonable.

However…

Yes, we all expected Tyson to want something reasonable.

Tyson, yes, was certainly the missing piece for the Mavericks last year and there’s zero question how much good he did. No matter what happens, Chandler will always have a special spot in my mind for what he did in the Summer of 2011, and that will never change.

There’s a big difference, though, between being the missing piece and being the best player. Tyson for all his impact did not, for example, grab 10 rebounds a game. He scored just 10.1. He blocked about a shot a game.

He was terrific. But he wasn’t, say, an All-Star. Being the missing piece on a title-winning team is a huge resume line, but it doesn’t change the fact that Tyson is a terrific defender, an athletic leaper, with the strength and size to handle anybody---who has basically no post-game, can’t create a shot for himself and gets into foul trouble too often. As well as being a guy who, despite his tremendous health all season, not only has missed significant parts of several of his seasons but in fact had a trade annulled, just a year ago, because of a physical examination.

So when the news came out today that Tyson is hoping for a max deal from somebody it brought the calculators out in a hurry.

Look, I’m the first person to argue that basketball is a go-hard or go-home proposition, that nobody ever wins a championship, and if you’ve got the chance to, you go bankrupt, you pull out all the stops, and you prepare to suck afterwards because there’s no other way.

But there’s no need for the calculators. The Mavs can’t afford that. They just can’t.

That doesn’t mean they’ll have to. You can understand why Tyson would ask around or a max deal—who wouldn’t? Especially at a position as thin, right now, as the center position is leaguewide. He might even get it, from someone, for that very reason. You can even understand why, with everyone blowing him up over the last year, with him, legendarily, having brought the D to big D and ending the suffering of a tortured franchise, he would think he deserves it.

He deserves a lot, but not that. Even in overpaying for what you need because what you want to pay will leave you with a team that can’t win it all mode.

This is, however, a fascinating test case. Becasue this is the reason everyone was pissed off at the owners during the CBA.

What the owners were trying to do more than anything else wasn’t to take money from the players, or switch a couple of percentage points around .What they WANTED was to make it so other owners couldn’t give the Tyson Chandlers of the world—fine, valuable, but overall not a superstar-- a ridiculous contract that they themselves couldn’t match.

Everyone was mad about it because no one has ever been stopping other owners from not doing that. Not before the new CBA, not now.

The owners could always have not overpaid for players and still can. Just like, whenever.

If the owners are sincere about changing the league, no one will offer Tyson 20 million dollars.

If they’re not, Tyson is gone, and there’s nothing to be done about it.