After a bittersweet season that saw the Nuggets trade their face of the franchise in Carmelo Anthony and usher in an assortment of change and new talent, Denver earned the fourth seed where they will battle the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.
Wilson Chandler, one of the return investments of the Melo trade, has performed admirably and adjusted rather nicely in George Karl's scheme as a utility player and one of their better options in transition and from the right wing on the court. In his last regular season game with Denver, Chandler poured in 27 points along with six rebounds, marking the fourth time he's scored 20+ with the Nuggets and the 13th time in double figures.
As much as this may pain you Nuggets fans, Chandler is likely a goner. History says that Chandler will be elsewhere once the season ends, barring a lockout.
In each of the past six seasons, a small forward was able to parlay a successful, strong playoff run into either a lucrative contract or a trade in the offseason. A changing of the forward if you will. The evidence you ask?
Let's back track a little bit.
Last offseason the infamous Le-Bacle occurred that triggered conspiracy theories and near nationwide hate when LeBron James decided to relocate to South Beach. He will undoubtedly earn more from endorsements in his deal with the Heat, rather than with Cleveland.
Using momentum from the Lakers championship run in 2008-09, Trevor Ariza decided to ditch Los Angeles for the Southern confines of Houston and a few extra dollars in his bank account. Ron Artest was able to find happiness and mental peace in L.A. courtesy of a five-year deal worth $33 million. In the same offseason as Ariza and Artest, Hedo Turkoglu spurned both the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers by inking with the Suns after Orlando's magical ride to Finals.
After the 2006-07 season, Kevin Garnett was dealt to Boston to form arguably the greatest big three of the decade.
Chandler is only 23 years old and is about athletic as they at the three position. He's a superb on-ball defender and does a excellent job of using his base and powerful lower body to stay centered and balanced throughout a sequence. Chandler will apply this when he is called upon to defend Kevin Durant with his size and his agility making him the most likely candidate. He can guard three positions and reminds me of a younger more confident Gerald Wallace, in the essence of his versatility, build and toughness.
Before being sent to Denver, New York GM Donnie Walsh wanted reportedly wanted to re-sign Chandler in the offseason and I'm sure you Nuggets fans now understand why.
Say goodbye it was fun while it lasted.