This afternoon Kelly Ito of Rockets Wire reported that the Houston Rockets are interested in trading for Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler. This comes after the announcement that Trevor Ariza will reportedly sign a 1-year deal for $15M with the Phoenix Suns.
The Houston Rockets have expressed interest in Wilson Chandler, according to a league source. https://t.co/1cWjMNn8CN
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) July 1, 2018
The Nuggets have held that Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur and Kenneth Faried are all available for trade, according to Marc Stein. Following the reported signings of Nikola Jokic and Will Barton it’s known that the Nuggets will likely try to limit the luxury tax bill as much as possible by dealing these expiring contracts.
Chandler is now 31, entering his 12th official season in the league. Chandler is coming off his lowest scoring season since 2011-12 and his rookie season 2007-08 despite playing the most minutes per game since being traded to Denver from New York. He also matched the worst defensive rating of his career for the second year in a row. Ranking 259th in real plus-minus, Chandler was the worst major rotation player on the team by that metric.
Still, Chandler has the capability to be a starter on some teams, or a key piece with his offensive and defensive versatility on a team like the Rockets, or Nuggets. The issue is if he is worth his $12.8M for the last year of his deal. After losing Ariza, however, the Rockets suddenly have a hole to fill in their roster that fits Chandler quite well.
Chandler has often expressed displeasure with his role coming off the bench in Denver and even after starting this year has said that he feels most comfortable as a power forward. On a team that features small-ball 4s like P.J. Tucker it’s easy to see why the Rockets could be interested in trading for Chandler while his value to Denver is more burdensome from a cap perspective.
Chandler played for Houston coach Mike D’Antoni for the three highest scoring years of his career, making the possibility for a reunion something both parties might be interested in. At the time, there were questions as to whether Gallinari and Chandler were just products of D’Antoni’s offense, which shows that there could be some opportunity for revitalization if Chandler and D’Antoni were to reunite.
It'll be interesting to see how Wilson Chandler and Danillo Gallinari play outside of Mike D'Antoni's offense.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 22, 2011
With Will Barton set to assume the starting small forward role by some reports, it would not be a surprise to see Chandler traded before the start of the season. Whether that trade is with the Houston Rockets remains to be seen.