Chandler Deal Rescinded
Many eulogies had been written about the New Orleans Hornets' postseason chances after the team dealt center Tyson Chandler to Oklahoma City in exchange for former Maryland Terps Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. Most likely at the urging of owner George Shinn, Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower made a cost-cutting deal, hoping to shed salary and adding some depth to its limited bench, but Chandler is headed back to New Orleans after he failed his physical on Wednesday.
"We welcome Tyson back with open arms," said Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower said in a statement released late Wednesday night. "We went into this trade to garner more frontcourt depth to add to our team as we continue our push towards the playoffs. We expect Tyson and the rest of our big guys to step up to the challenge."
The Thunder's medical staff failed to clear Chandler, who has dealt with ankle and foot injuries for most of the season. Smith, Wilcox and the draft rights to center Devon Hardin will immediately rejoin the Thunder.
This is a crushing blow for the Thunder, which thought it had found the defensive-minded big man to run with its young nucleus of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. If Chandler's injury is serious, though, it may not help the Hornets, either.
The winner in this broken-down deal could possibly be the Boston Celtics, who have been hoping that Smith could land on their laps by way of a post-trade-deadline buyout with the Thunder. That could still be a possibility, if Oklahoma City General Manager Sam Presti is unable to work his magic by dealing the expiring contracts of Smith and Wilcox before 3 p.m. Thursday. It should be an interesting couple of hours, no doubt.
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