This trade is what the phrase “mixed feelings” was made for.
So the Hornets are trading Tyson Chandler. Again. And it looks like it’s going to go through this time. To tell you the truth, I’m relieved. Yes, I wanted us to keep TC. I wanted to see him get healthy and prove he could still be the player he was at his best. He was one of my favorite Hornets. But… I know I would personally find it hard to give 100% to a team that you knew tried to give you away. I want Tyson on our team. But I also want him to get a fresh start. And I don’t want “are we going to trade him or not?” hanging over our heads until February.
To hear about the nightmare OKC trade, in which the team tried to swap an elite defensive center (say what you will about the season he had this year, and about his offense, but the numbers say this is a fact) for two scrubs who couldn’t get off the bench on the worst team in the NBA, and then to listen to all the other trade rumors — scrub, scrub, guy who’s going to retire and be bought out, scrub– this summer… and then the name Emeka Okafor comes up. How is that not a relief? It’s the first name mentioned with Tyson Chandler that belongs to a player of the same caliber– actually, a slightly better caliber.
Okafor is a 14/10 career guy. He’s the same age as Tyson but he has less wear and tear on him due to playing three years of a college schedule as opposed to being in the NBA since age 18. His deal is longer, but it’s backloaded, which means the team gets savings of about $2 million a year for the next two years. I’m guessing they’re banking on the fact that their cap issues only matter for the next two years anyway, since Peja and Mo Pete come off the books and we go under in 2011 whatever happens. If you accept as a premise the fact that the Hornets’ front office was going to trade Chandler, then this is one of the best possible outcomes. So it’s hard to be upset.
At the same time, I feel kind of guilty about not being upset. I mean, they had to go and trade my favorite player for another one who’s actually good and who I actually like. Who’s undisputedly the best out of all the names that have come up. I will miss Tyson Chandler. All the great things I said about him in the post I wrote when he was traded to OKC are still true. I will miss the Crescent City Connection. I will miss his humor. I will miss how he could fire up the arena. I’ll still wear his jersey and remember how much fun it all was, that magical year when I was just getting into basketball, and he was my favorite player on the team.
But you don’t look back. You look ahead, and what’s ahead looks pretty good too. And then you realize the reason you’re not upset is because this is something you accepted a long time ago.