The Dallas Mavericks will forever be second-guessed for letting Tyson Chandler, the defensive anchor of their 2011 NBA championship team, depart in free agency in the name of preserving payroll flexibility. The Mavericks stumbled through an inconsistent year before being swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs, while Chandler went to the New York Knicks and won Defensive Player of the Year.
Still, there's an easy, diplomatic way for Mavericks executives to discuss their decision to let Chandler go. General manager Donnie Nelson started to do that in a morning appearance on "The Ben And Skin Show" on ESPN 103.3 in Dallas, but then veered in a different direction just after the three-minute mark.
"We completely understood at the time the value Tyson brought to the table," Nelson began, but there's a but here. First, Nelson diplomatically said that Chandler alone probably wouldn't have caused the Mavericks to beat Oklahoma City. Then, he took it a step further.
"Would he have helped us win some games? Sure. But at the end of the day, if Tyson was all that, New York wouldn't be down 3-1 right now. We're not talking about Michael Jordan here."
Don't recall anyone suggesting Chandler was as important as Michael Jordan, but sure, Donnie Nelson. You destroy that strawman.