Veteran center Tyson Chandler signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, two days after reaching a buyout agreement with the Phoenix Suns.
Chandler will provide needed frontcourt depth for the Lakers, who have relied on JaVale McGee and undersized forwards to guard big men during their 4-6 start to the season. Rookie center Moe Wagner still hasn’t made his debut while returning slowly from a knee injury, and Lakers basketball boss Magic Johnson didn’t want to wait any longer to bolster his team’s areas of need.
While the 36-year-old Chandler might not be the dominant defensive player he was in his prime, he could play regular minutes for coach Luke Walton while the Lakers attempt to find a winning groove in their first season with LeBron James.
The Lakers host Minnesota on Wednesday night.
“Having observed our roster for the first 10 games of this young season, one of the areas that Earvin and I discussed with Luke that we desired to upgrade is interior defense and rebounding,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. “In Tyson Chandler, we addressed that need and so much more. We are excited that Tyson will bring championship-level experience that will solidify our veteran leadership and help positively shape our young core.”
Chandler has been a standout NBA defender and rebounder for half of his life. He is the latest addition to a core of veteran Lakers newcomers around James including Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, McGee and Michael Beasley, who returned to practice Tuesday after spending a week away due to an undisclosed personal matter.
Chandler is joining his seventh team early in his 18th season in the league. He won a championship ring with Dallas in 2011, and he was the NBA’s defensive player of the year with the Knicks in 2012 before earning an All-Star selection in 2013.
He spent the past three seasons with Phoenix, and he averaged 6.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last year. Chandler has made more than 55 percent of his shots in each of the past 13 seasons, and his career .596 shooting percentage is the third-best in NBA history.