No, the All-Pro receiver didn’t comment on his contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys during his brief interview while standing in left field between innings Saturday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. After fielding one playful question about the baseball game, the interviewer started to walk off before Bryant called him back over.
Bryant, who is playing a minor role as a recruiter for the Dallas Mavericks this summer, then encouraged the sellout crowd to “hit up” DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge on Twitter to encourage the free agents to sign with the Mavs.
Tyson Chandler was maybe 100 feet away at the time, standing in the dugout and signing autographs for fans.
But that uncomfortable moment pretty much sums up the situation between the Mavs and the best center in franchise history as Wednesday’s start of free agency approaches. Chandler, a consummate professional, understands that the Mavs are trying to recruit Jordan to replace him and says it doesn’t bother him that he is Dallas’ second choice at center.
“No, because business is business,” Chandler said before serving as the world’s tallest third-base coach during the annual game that raises money for children’s charities.
“And at the end of the day, I get it. The franchise [has] to make the best decision for the franchise. Of course, I still feel like I can go, still have a lot to give. But at the end of the day, I feel like I’ll make the best decision for myself and my family and the Mavericks will make the best decision for the organization.”
Chandler, of course, is plenty familiar with the cold business of basketball. He has bounced around the league, being traded seven times, including one deal that was called off when Oklahoma City’s team doctor flunked him on a physical due to a toe injury. And Chandler has already had one departure from Dallas, leaving for New York in 2011 when Mark Cuban declined to offer him more than a one-year deal despite the big man being such a critical piece of the Mavs’ title run months earlier.
There is still a decent chance that Chandler, 32, re-signs with the Mavs. The only scenario in which the Mavs wouldn’t make him a market-value offer is if they successfully convince the 26-year-old Jordan to leave the Los Angeles Clippers to join his pal Chandler Parsons as centerpieces of the Mavs’ future.
What exactly are the odds of Chandler’s return? That’s impossible to say. But Chandler would “love” to stay in Dallas for the right deal.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t know what number he’s looking for, I don’t know [how many] years he’s looking for to finish out his career. I never got involved in that. He knows I love him. We’ll always be family, won a championship together. But with numbers and business, that is not my forte.”
It remains to be seen whether Chandler is willing to be patient as the recruiting process plays out with Jordan. Chandler is expected to receive plenty of interest from other teams, including Jason Kidd’s Milwaukee Bucks.
League sources estimate that Chandler will end up signing a deal in the range of $36 million over three years.
“I would definitely like to get things over with as soon as possible,” Chandler said. “I’m not that guy. I’m a loyal guy. This whole process has been mind-racking.”