Wilson Chandler was supposed to bring a number of things to the Nets this season: a veteran presence, a scorer’s mentality. But in late August, word came that he’d tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and would have to sit the first 25 games, almost a third of the Nets season.
To suggest that the suspension jeopardizes Chandler’s season —maybe even his career— is not an exaggeration. As Greg Logan reports Friday, after the first five games, the Nets have a 20-game window during the rest of Chandler’s suspension to add another player. Lance Thomas, who the Nets signed as a training camp invite on Media Day, is seen as his likely replacement. While not the scorer Chandler is, Thomas is a solid defender and can hit the three. And he is surely a veteran presence.
So Chandler have to shine in preseason to make sure he doesn’t become the forgotten man by the time he’s eligible to return.
Chandler told Logan that he gets what happened, accepts the punishment... although he explains the violation was inadvertent. (He has appealed the suspension.)
“It’s definitely affected me in a negative way,” Chandler said. “It’s disheartening. I definitely wish I could take it back, but I can’t now. I’ll just try to move forward.
“I’ve talked to Kenny and Sean [Marks]. Those guys have been great. They’ve shown me respect. Obviously, it’s a business, so you’ve got to do what’s best for the team. I definitely respect the decisions they made and still having me here,” Chandler told Newsday on Media Day.
It’s a tough situation to be in,” he said. “It’s very important to cement a role and just prove your value . . . The biggest thing is to make the open shots and play defense.”
What makes the situation tougher is the timing of the end of Chandler’s suspension. He’s expected to return on December 15, which coincidentally is also the first day he can be traded.
And Thomas may not be Chandler’s only competition. If the Nets decide to give minutes to Nic Claxton or Henry Ellenson, their two young (20 and 22) stretch-4’s, that could hurt Chandler’s chances as well.
So starting Friday night at Barclays Center vs. Basquete Franca, Chandler will have to remind Marks and Atkinson what they’ll miss later in the season. He’ll have four games to do it.
- Wilson Chandler in tough spot with Nets - Greg Logan - Newsday