The Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a trade Tuesday afternoon to send Wilson Chandler, a 2021 second round pick, and a 2022 second round pick swap to Philadelphia in exchange for minimal cash considerations.
Denver has traded Wilson Chandler and a draft consideration to the 76ers, league sources tell ESPN. Chandler will be absorbed into the Sixers space.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2018
This is the salary dump that the Nuggets were targeting, and they were able to complete it without giving up a valuable asset. Chandler is a serviceable player in this league and clearly had interest from other teams around the league, like the Houston Rockets. In Philadelphia, Chandler will be a rotation player off the bench where he’ll likely get to play his preferred 4 position.
By trading Chandler, Denver saves a combined $50M between their salary and luxury tax. Chandler was set to make $12.8M this season, but his impact on the luxury tax would have been $37M extra. Now the Nuggets are a trade (or stretched contract) away from potentially getting under the luxury tax depending on their remaining contract negotiations.
Trading Wilson Chandler to Philadelphia will save Denver $50M in combined salary and luxury tax. The Nuggets tax bill now drops from $51.3M to $14.3M. The $12.8M Chandler contract can be traded immediately without any restrictions because Philadelphia acquired him with room.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 3, 2018
In Chandler’s seven seasons as a Nugget he averaged 13.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
Chandler was part of the Carmelo Anthony deal in February 2011 in which Denver also acquired Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, multiple picks and cash. This was a changing of the guard in Denver that initially started with great success. The team finished with 50 wins the year of the trade before things started to get weird.
The 2011-12 season was cut short by the lockout. That season Chandler spent playing in China without an opt-out, until he was cleared to return for the final eight games of the regular season. Upon returning, Chandler was extended for a five-year $31.7M deal to remain in Denver.
The next season, Chandler was a part of the franchise record 57-win team averaging 13.0 PPG while shooting a career-high 41.3 percent from the three-point line, but Chandler missed 35 games with a hip injury. In the following two seasons he did begin to gain some momentum with his health, but the Nuggets were a team without an identity after the firing of George Karl.
The Nuggets believed Chandler was a key piece of the team culture they wanted to develop, so they offered him a new contract for four years worth $46.5M (the contract they now had to move). He would then miss the entire 2015-16 season with a torn labrum in his right hip.
Coming off the injury Chandler, had lost his starting small forward spot to Danilo Gallinari, but still averaged a Denver-career-high 15.7 points in 2016-17. In February 2017 Chandler expressed displeasure with his role and it looked like the Nuggets might have had to trade him before the deadline. Unfortunately, Gallinari went down with injury, but Chandler was able to show his value as a starter. That gave the Nuggets the confidence to move on from Gallinari in the offseason and sign Paul Millsap.
As it turned out, Chandler was able to start 71 games for the Nuggets in 2017-18, but his production was a problem at times for a young team that was only one game away from making the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13. The nail in the coffin for Chandler was his scoreless performance in the overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the season finale.
Chandler’s contract was no longer worth the cost for a player who may not have started and who’s replacement was drafted in the first round of the draft. Even on an expiring deal the luxury tax situation proved to be the end of Chandler’s time in Denver. While Chandler’s Nuggets tenure may not have reached its full potential, he was still a key piece of the Nuggets identity in transitioning from Carmelo’s era to Jokic’s era and Nuggets fans should be glad he was a part of the team.