Wilson Chandler considering playing in Italy if he can't work out a deal with Nuggets

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A week after it looked like restricted free agent forward Wilson Chandler would surely sign a contract with the Nuggets, doubt is creeping in. It comes in the form of an Italian team and a lack of progress in contract negotiations. Wilson has yet to work out a deal with the Nuggets and global basketball web site Sportando reported on Twitter Monday that Chandler is in "serious talks" to play with an Italian team for the rest of the season.

That same website also reported on Twitter early this morning that the Italian team in question, Olimpia Milano, has no interest in signing Chandler -- so it could be nothing more than a negotiating ploy.

Chandler spent the evening of February 20 in a suite with Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and both sides talked optimistically about getting a deal done. Chandler then went to flirt with the Toronto Raptors last week and waited for his letter of clearance from the Chinese Basketball Association, where he played during the lockout.

Chandler received his letter of clearance yesterday, according to Chandler's agent, Chris Luchey. This means Chandler is free to play in the NBA. Now all he needs to do is decide if he wants to do that, and for which team.

Chandler has until tomorrow to sign an offer sheet with another NBA team, which the Nuggets could match. After tomorrow, the Nuggets are the only NBA team Chandler can sign with and play for this season.

Luchey has said Chandler won't sign a one-year deal with the Nuggets and the team has said it has no interest in bringing him on just for the rest of the season. Chandler might want a deal just for the rest of the season because it would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Nuggets won't do this because they would then risk losing him and receiving nothing in return. And as a restricted free agent, Chandler has less control in this negotiation than the Nuggets do.

Chandler is looking for a long-term deal, as the Nuggets appear to be, but if the sides can't agree on terms, Chandler could sit out the rest of the year or head to Italy, then test restricted free agency again next season.

Toronto is the only other team Chandler reportedly visited, but Luchey said six other teams have interest. The Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been tossed around on the Internets, but the Nuggets will be able to offer him more money than any other team.

The Nuggets are likely weary of spending too much money on someone who will essentially be backing up Danilo Gallinari, who they just handed a four-year, $42 million extension. Chandler, who came to the Nuggets last year in the Carmelo Anthony deal, has averaged just under fourteen points and five rebounds for his career and could certainly start for several teams.

The best case scenario for the Nuggets is that tomorrow passes without another squad extending an offer, at which point the team would still have Chandler under contract even without signing him to a long-term deal. The Nuggets could then try to work out a long-term contract or a trade to get something of value in return for the small forward, even if he chooses to sit out the season or flee to Italy.

More from our Sports archive: "Wilson Chandler tattoo photos: Chris 'Birdman' Andersen will love new Nuggets teammate's ink."

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Kurt Henn
Kurt Henn

Personally I agree with Eric here, but wouldn't necessarily call it Stockholm syndrome. 

While the money is nice in the NBA, it is very very hard to beat the lifestyle in europe.  Maybe he thinks he doesn't need the NBA anymore?


You know, I'd agree with Eric here.  Although I wouldn't call it Stockholm syndrome. 

Who knows, maybe he thinks that he doesn't NEED the NBA anymore.  While the pay might be nice, you absolutely cannot beat the lifestyle in Europe.  


Great comment Eric. Thats probably one of the best opinions i've read about Wilson in the past week. I too respect his reluctance to sign. You have to be an opportunist in this game to make it far. Look at Lebron.


This is really interesting, but for some reasons perhaps not so readily apparent.

Not every professional athlete develops the same Stockholm Syndrome much of the rest of society has succumbed to.

Here's a guy that took a chance, looked at his options, went overseas, probably had a great experience absorbing a different culture, made some money, broadened his horizons, and maybe came back wiser and more worldly.

Professional sports owners are a small, tightly knit society of miserly and mostly cheap top 1 percenters that as standard operating procedure get away with paying as little as they can for players' services. Their standard rebuttal to pushback is to ominously ask "What are you going to do about it?".

Wilson Chandler could well sign with Denver. We'll see within 72 hours. But at least he's questioning the more than likely inadequate, by his standards, offer the team has brought.

All too often, people that stick up for themselves are branded "problems" by teams that have the fawning media hacks that cover them in their pockets. Jim Brown was villified in the sixties, same as Jim Taylor.

All the same, it's nice to see a guy implicitly pointing out that a sports team's trying to low ball him, and seems tough enough to push back. 

Whatever happns, I like his attitude.


Kurt, your points are great.

And the possibility of going to China and Europe the same year, and getting paid to do it?

You describe a very pleasant scenario for him

Something tells me this young man will make a great decision.

So you're a Red Sox fan?

The most exciting World Series (untill the year they broke the curse in'04) I ever saw was the loss in 7 games in '75.

Carlton Fisk in the 6th game, the whole thing.

Chris Mommsen
Chris Mommsen

he's grabbing whatever lever he's got, and you can't blame him for that. We all know the Nuggets are using the fact that he can't sign with another NBA team this season as leverage as well.

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