The Los Angeles Lakers needed some defensive help this season. Therefore, they went out and signed Tyson Chandler earlier this week. And until Wednesday night, he had played 1,086 career games — but zero with his hometown Lakers.
Chandler, now 36, would debut with the Lakers on Wednesday night after he was bought out following three seasons with the Suns. He came off the bench to score two points on 1-of-4 shooting over 23 minutes of action. But they didn’t sign him for that. They signed him for defense! And Chandler didn’t disappoint, hauling in nine rebounds. Thus, creating a center presence the Lakers haven’t had in a while.
More than that, though, he’s just grateful to be able to play in Los Angeles. That’s what it comes down to.
“I love this city the way they love me,” Chandler told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin following the game. “When you’re homegrown from here, go to high school and all of that, and you have these same fans that have been watching [your career] and now you represent the jersey that everyone has been cheering for their entire lives, you kind of become one.”
The big man brings a veteran presence that includes an NBA championship, DPOY and ASG on his resume.
“I’ve been on the other side and played the villain,” he added. “Now it’s great to be on this side and actually rep ’em.”
Chandler has finally come home. How much can he help his Lakers as the season rolls on?