“I wouldn’t say that,” Chandler said when asked by Dempsey if he wanted to be traded.
“But I would definitely like to be in something more consistent. It’s not necessarily about starting. It’s just about being more consistent. If it’s 20 minutes, it’s 20 minutes and that’s cool. If it’s 35 minutes, if it’s 30 minutes; if it’s six shots, if it’s 12 shots. If it’s this group, if it’s that group.”
Chandler went on to say that he wasn’t unhappy, but whatever happens, happens.
Chandler is currently averaging 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from the field after missing the 2015-16 season with a hip injury. He has started in 13 of a possible 44 games so far this season and therein lies the source of his reported frustration.
Chandler was arguably the Nuggets’ most impactful player in the first few months of the season as the team struggled offensively. Before Nikola Jokic was inserted into the starting lineup on December 15, Denver were struggling to score and had little offensive rhythm. Chandler consistently came into the game and sparked life into a Nuggets squad that was desperate for it.
His significant play off the bench earned him a regular starting role when head coach Michael Malone alternated his line up on December 15. Chandler started in 11 of the next 13 games before being relegated back to his bench position in favor of Kenneth Faried. As a starter, Chandler has posted 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 44 percent shooting.
The Nuggets have been one of the more active teams in trade talks so far this season, and with news of Chandler reportedly wanting to be dealt, it will be interesting to see how the franchise handles it moving forward.
If the Nuggets do elect to deal the veteran, there will be plenty of suitors available.
Oklahoma City was close to acquiring Kings swingman Rudy Gay prior to the season but the deal fell through when Cameron Payne injured his ankle. The Thunder, who currently sit in the seventh seed, haven’t been shy in trying to acquire talent to put around Russell Westbrook, trading for Jerami Grant in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova and a first round pick. If they are still in the market for a secondary scoring option behind Westbrook, Chandler may appeal to the Thunder.
The LA Clippers may also be interested in Chandler as they have had recent talks to acquire multiple-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony. The Clippers have long had a need at the 3-spot and Chandler could offer the team another scoring option and versatile defender.
The Nuggets’ biggest requirement right now is a rim protector and elite defender to play alongside Nikola Jokic down low. The Nuggets have featured the league’s worst defensive rating at 113.5 since the December 15 lineup change and simply can’t stop teams from scoring.
Kenneth Faried has played very well starting at the 4-spot offensively, but his size doesn’t allow him to be a constant shot disturber around the rim and he can be called out defensively on occasions.
The Nuggets may also push for a package that includes expiring contracts in an effort to get closer to the NBA’s salary cap floor. The team is approximately $7 million below what they are required to spend this season, and recently acquired, then waived, Mo Williams and his $2.2 million contract to get closer to the floor.