Tyson Chandler fires back at Knicks

ByTim MacMahon via ESPN logo
Saturday, September 20, 2014
ESPN

DALLAS -- Months later, Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler is still mad about insinuations that he caused chemistry issues for the New York Knicks last season.

Knicks president Phil Jackson cited the desire to "change some of the chemistry" of the team as one of the reasons he sent Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to Dallas in the late-June deal.

Chandler has been portrayed in several media reports since then as a player who caused internal problems for the Knicks last season, much to his chagrin.

"I did nothing but try to help the culture there the three years I was there," Chandler said Friday. "You can say I didn't live up to whatever or you didn't like the way I played or anything. But to ever question who I am and the type of leader I am in the locker room, I don't even know where that came from.

"I honestly don't know where that came from. I don't know if Phil put that out there or who put that out there, but to me, that was the ultimate shock. And you don't have to say that to get rid of me or to trade me. The trade is over.

"So to judge my character and what I've done, you can go look at all my teammates and ask all of my teammates in the past, and the coaches I've played for, and I've never been a problem and never had a problem. So that was a shock to me that I didn't appreciate."

Mavs owner Mark Cuban, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and coach Rick Carlisle all cited Chandler's outstanding leadership ability as one of the motivating factors in bringing him back to Dallas. Chandler was widely recognized as the spiritual leader during Dallas' 2010-11 championship season. He has always prided himself in being an unselfish player who demands the best of his teammates.

"It makes no sense," Chandler said. "If you call holding people accountable daily being a bad influence, then hey, I'm a bad influence. But I'm going to be that as long as I'm going to strap up my shoes and step on the basketball court. And that was the big problem there.

"That's the biggest thing. I guess if that's why I was a bad influence, because I wanted to do things the right way, then I guess I'm a bad influence. But I've never heard of that. I thought that was being a professional."

Chandler, the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12 and an All-Star in 2012-13, readily admits that he was disappointed in his performance last season. He averaged 8.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in 55 games for a Knicks team that went 37-45 after winning a playoff series the previous season. He also acknowledges that he'd speak his mind when he felt it was merited.

However, Chandler adamantly insists he never had any problems with teammates or coaches in New York. He finds suggestions otherwise to be offensive.

"You can go to any of the staff members or anybody and ask them what kind of guy I was when I was there, and if I was the guy who was pushing for what is right all the time and they would tell you so," Chandler said. "That more than anything in my career caught me off guard. I can stomach somebody saying he didn't produce or whatever, and that's just motivation. But a shot at someone's character or professionalism, that's a little far-fetched."

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