In a recent New York Post article Peter Vecsey points out that if Chandler were to sign in Italy for the remainder of the season, he would then “forfeit the ability to do a sign-and-trade come summer — one of the CBA’s multitude of new rules.” Essentially, this makes re-signing Chandler even more critical than before for a couple reasons.
First, once summer arrives many teams will have freed up enough cap space to make the type of offer that would cripple the Nuggets salary flexibility if they decided to match. In theory the Nuggets could deal Chandler that following winter before the trade deadline to avoid paying his salary but the fact remains, having Chandler as a tradable asset this summer allows much more room for the team to improve heading into next year.
If he were to sign in Italy, then come back to the States and agree to an offer the Nuggets would cringe at matching, (assuming they would in fact match) this would basically erase most of the team’s cap room and in the process prevent it from making much-needed additions to the roster through free agency. Additionally, the thought of the Nuggets letting Chandler walk for nothing becomes an actual possibility rather than a nightmare, which is something Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke have attempted to avoid for quite some time. What if, for example, the Nuggets manage to get themselves into heavy contract negotiations with a player like Kevin Garnett, Chris Kaman or Gerald Wallace? Letting Chandler walk in order to sign someone like them then becomes an all too realistic scenario with all the work the Nuggets front office did in order to retain him as an asset, then flying out the window in the process.
In a way, these new details that have come to light might actually expedite contract negotiations and ensure Chandler returns to the Nuggets for at least the rest of the 2011-12 campaign. Now that he has leverage Chandler can tell the Nuggets to either pony up and give him the money he wants, or suffer the consequences by relinquishing the right to sign-and-trade him this summer. Either way, Chandler is getting paid and in all likelihood the Nuggets will be the ones dishing out the dollars. At this point, sacrificing a few more million bucks this year could go a long way in ensuring more talent arrives in Denver in the foreseeable future.