Not long removed from LeBron James seeing the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, and days after Lance Stephenson played against the Indiana Pacers, now Tyson Chandler reunites with former teammates as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
Having only signed JaVale McGee and beginning the season without much depth at the center position, the Lakers planned to join the throng of teams that utilize a small-ball lineup on a regular basis.
However, using Kyle Kuzma at center in those scenarios led to losing the rebounding battle more times than not. The merits of how it came to be might never be known, as speculation is LeBron James phoned in a favor with former teammate James Jones, the Lakers were thrown a lifeline in the form of Chandler.
The veteran center was a buyout candidate but that the Suns moved ahead with such a decision so early in the season was not expected. As a viable backup center for the Lakers, Chandler’s arrival coincided with a four-game winning streak.
The Lakers won three in a row after it was snapped and responded to a pair of losses by sweeping a back-to-back, which is Chandler’s focus. “I’m looking forward to continuing the winning streak,” he said, downplaying the notion there’s any personal agenda or motivation. “We’ve been up and down a little bit this year. I’m looking forward to building on the wins, to be honest.”
Although Chandler is still in the early stages of his time with the Lakers, he believes their chemistry is much improved. “A lot more comfortable. I’m starting to understand guys’ tendencies and I think they’re starting to understand mine,” Chandler said.
That process was aided by the Lakers holding off the Indiana Pacers after squandering a big lead and mounting a large comeback of their own the following night against the Dallas Mavericks. “In both games, teams made runs and we were able to keep it together,” Chandler said.
“You grow as a team when you can show maturity like that and get over those humps.”