DALLAS — Coach Rick Carlisle, who understands Tyson Chandler’s antipathy toward the Mavericks, hopes the center’s No. 6 jersey will one day be retired by the franchise despite spending only two one-season stints in Dallas.
“My opinion is he’s worthy and more than worthy, based on history and just because he’s such a special person on top of it,” Carlisle said after Wednesday’s shootaround before Chandler and the Phoenix Suns visit the American Airlines Center for a preseason game.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban, the one-man committee who decides which numbers are retired in Dallas, twice opted not to make Chandler a priority in free agency when the big man hoped to re-sign with the Mavs.
Chandler was considered the emotional leader of the Mavs’ 2010-11 title team, but Cuban offered only a one-year deal after the ensuing lockout, valuing financial flexibility over committing to an aging team that pulled off an underdog championship run. Chandler signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the New York Knicks, who traded him back to Dallas in the summer of 2014, when Cuban publicly declared that he had “learned from his mistake” when asked if Chandler was in the Mavs’ long-term plans.
However, Chandler was clearly the Mavs’ backup plan in free agency, when they focused on recruiting DeAndre Jordan. Chandler informed the Mavs of his commitment to sign a four-year, $52 million deal with the Suns minutes before their July 1 meeting with Jordan, who committed to Dallas only to infamously change his mind and re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I definitely felt like, after winning a championship and help bring it there, that I was going to be there for the long run,” Chandler told the Arizona Republic on Tuesday. “I never heard of a championship team being broken up like that. When they traded for me to come back, I sat at the podium with everybody else and heard them say this was going to be a long-term deal and they weren’t going to make the same mistake as last time and blah-blah-blah. Seven months later, the same thing happens again.
“But I learned in this business that you can’t trust everybody. That’s why it is what it is.”
Cuban said during a recent appearance on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas that Chandler had a right to be “salty.”
Carlisle, who calls Chandler “one of the most special people that I’ve met in my 33 years in this profession,” respects Chandler’s point of view.
“He has every right to feel the way he feels,” Carlisle said. “He is truly one of the all-time great Mavericks in history. There’s just no doubt about it. What he did for this franchise, really in both years, was special. And then this past summer was the byproduct of the high-stakes things that you go through in this league, the risks that you take. We attempted to get the team significantly younger. It didn’t work out and he decided to leave. That was certainly his prerogative. We have nothing but the utmost respect for him.”
Chandler’s feelings about the Mavs are more complicated.
“To be honest, I don’t know what my emotions are going to be like going in there until I get there,” Chandler told the Arizona Republic. “I feel like the whole situation was all bad — twice.”