Chandler isn't worth price Mavs would pay

Tyson Chandler might be a decent stopgap center solution for the Mavericks if Brendan Haywood prices himself out of the Dallas market.

But a trade for Chandler – something sources tell ESPN.com’s Marc Stein the Mavs are considering as a secondary option – would be a disappointing use of Erick Dampier’s unique contract.

That’s a boulder-sized chip the Mavs need to use to acquire a co-star for Dirk Nowitzki, not another role player.

When healthy, Chandler would be a good fit with the Mavs because of his ability to run the floor, finish and rebound. But he hasn’t been healthy nearly often enough the last two seasons, when his rebounding rate has dropped significantly.

If the Mavs are going to acquire a center with durability issues whose best days are done, I’d rather see them chase Jermaine O’Neal with the midlevel exception, or at least most of it. O’Neal is an underrated defender, and while his go-to guy days are long gone, he’s certainly an offensive upgrade over Haywood and Dampier. (Check out Tom Haberstroh’s ESPN Insider article on the free agency bargain bin for more on O’Neal.)

Most importantly, O’Neal could fill a hole for the Mavs without forcing them to use their most valuable trade asset.