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Re-signing Tyson Chandler: The Mavs' #1 Priority?

The first thing we’re all going to get to argue about, provided we ever get basketball back, is whether or not to re-sign Tyson Chandler.

It’s not a debate about whether we’d like to keep Tyson—everybody would—it’s a lot of other things. The don’t-keep-Tyson arguments I’ve seen center around these basic facts:

Tyson would be super expensive. His stats, which I think don’t really show his impact at all, aren’t as good as he’s going to be paid. They, in fact, compare only a little favorably to Brendan Haywood’s impact the season before this. He’s presumably still injury prone.

And most of all, as near as I can tell, the idea is that since Tyson’s the one we’re most likely to lose, he’s one of the ones it’s easiest to think of losing, and we have to lose somebody if we’re going to get, say, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard.

In my opinion, that’s all nonsense.

Signing Tyson Chandler should be the second biggest priority the Mavericks have ever had, just behind resigning Dirk those few times we’ve had to do that. It's an absolute must.

Take an example from another sport.

The Texas Rangers are doing great. Right now, they look poised to win their division, and they’ve shown they can beat teams like the Red Sox and the Yankees, so it wouldn’t be a bad bet to suppose they COULD make it back to the World Series this year. The major difference between this year and last year is they chose not to resign the addition a lot of people credit as making the difference, last year, namely Cliff Lee.

They did choose, too. They had it in writing that Cliff would sign with them if they would extend their contract offer from six years to seven. They loved the idea of having him, but the numbers got too much for them. They didn’t want to be saddled with an expensive contract, after it stopped being valuable, for that long.

Will the Rangers braintrust regret not signing him?

Forever. Every day. Every season, for the rest of their lives. Always. It was a horrible decision.

Cliff Lee was the difference between being a really good team and a team that could go up against anybody. You don't let that go, because you need it and you can't get it back.

Tyson Chandler is exactly the same.

Whenever I hear anyone talking about how we don't need Tyson, not if it costs too much, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

It took the Mavericks thirty years to win a championship.

It took nearly forty years for the Rangers to win a single playoff series.

Hell, even the mighty Dallas Cowboys didn’t win a playoff game between 1996 and 2009, and went from 1977 to 1992 without a Super Bowl.

I get that we grew up with Michael, and Magic and Larry, when it seemed like the thing to do after winning a championship was just go and out and get another one. I get that Kobe’s both been great and gotten lucky with teammates twice in his career, which never happens. But don't let all that fool you.

There’s nothing harder than winning a championship. Winning a championship almost never happens. You know how many of the 30 teams in the NBA HAVEN’T won one in the last 30 years?


You basically never win a championship. Ever.

I can’t stress this enough.

If you ever, ever do, somehow, beyond all reason, you don't start thinking you can just go out and get another one .Because you can't. Decades without a championship are the rule. It's happened to the Mavs before--hell, it's the only thing that's happened to the Mavs before--and it will happen again.

So these equivocations strike me as ridiculous. This need to keep roster or salary flexibility, or go after bigger fish, strikes me as ridiculous.

You know what the Mavs did with Tyson Chandler? They won a championship. That's how you know that worked.

Are you so sure you can find something else that does in the time these guys have left?

In seven years, the Rangers will care less about whether they have salary flexibility. They’re not going to have Josh Hamilton, who’s 30. They’re not going to have Nellie Cruz (31), Ian Kinsler (29), Colby Lewis (32), or C.J. Wilson (30). At that point, the Rangers will be so far from contending, you’ll be watching youtube videos of Hamilton hitting 30 homers at Yankee stadium in that home run derby and crying. At that point, Cliff Lee still getting paid would have been the Rangers’ 900th problem. And it might, at least, have come with a World Series ring.

In three years, Dirk, Terry and Marion will be 35, Kidd will be 40. No matter who you draft or trade for, by that point, I guarantee you, you do not replace Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd.

You do not mess around with this kind of thing. It took the Mavs 10 years to get the right team around Dirk, and it is not the kind of thing that once you've done it, it stays done. It is, in fact, exactly the opposite kind of thing. Ask the 2004 Pistons.

Tyson Chandler is a game-changer. There is zero doubt about that. The season before last, the Mavericks gave up nearly 100 points a game and lost in the first round. This season they gave up 96 points per game and won the championship.

Tyson brings a huge edge. He’s the perfect alley-oop partner for Jason Kidd. He’s great on the O-boards, great at defensive positioning, great at blocking shots, he’s the vocal center of the defense and to top it all off, he can shoot free throws. He can, as he showed, go toe to toe with anybody

I can’t believe either Mavs fans or the Mavs braintrust thinks this is even a question, if it’s at all possible.

You know what he can do, and you have him, you know time is running out. You don’t worry about the future. The future's going to be terrible anyway. Dirkless and stormy.

You re-sign Tyson Chandler. As soon as possible, no matter what it takes.

That’s what I think anyway. How about you?