LAS VEGAS – On paper, the deal that brought Wilson Chandler to the 76ers was regarded as a salary dump for the Denver Nuggets. They made the move to maintain financial flexibility and reduce what would have been a $50 million luxury tax bill.
The Sixers, however, view Chandler as someone who can help them make another postseason run.
"When you look at the DNA of the modern-day player, he is that," Sixers coach and interim general manger Brett Brown said. "You can guard multiple positions. You can make a three-point shot and has the versatility in his game that is incredibly impressive.
"I think anytime you can get people in a contract year, you put them in positions where they can do well."
The 6-foot-8 forward is set to make $12.8 million in the final year of his deal.
He started 71 of 74 games this past season, averaging 10 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 35.8 percent on three-pointers. The 31-year-old has career averages of 13.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 10 seasons combined with the Nuggets and New York Knicks. The Michigan native has started in 470 of 590 career games.
However, one has to assume that small forward Robert Covington and power forward Dario Saric will remain in the starting lineup. As a result, Chandler would be a solid sixth man.
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Chandler said he and Brown haven't talked about if he'll be in the starting lineup.
"He just told me don't worry about playing time, and that I'll play," Chandler said. "Me personally, I'm not worried about coming off the bench or starting. I've done both in my career."
Chandler's focus is on winning, not starting.
The Nuggets' last playoff appearance was the 2013-14 season, his third year in Denver. The Sixers, meanwhile, advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs this past season. They lost to the Boston Celtics in five games.
"I'm glad to be back on a playoff team," he said. "I'm looking forward to pushing it as far as we can." The Sixers' inability to defend the Celtics perimeter players had a hand in why they didn't advance to the Eastern Conference finals. A solid defender, Chandler should help strengthen that area. He's looking forward to fulfilling that or any role the Sixers have for him.
"Whatever they need, I'm out there," he said. "I'm going to play hard. I'm going to defend hard as I can whatever the team needs, whatever the coach needs. I'm not opposed to defense. I love to play both ends of the court."