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NBA: Tyson Chandler call challenged

By Darnell Mayberry Published: March 7, 2009
Tyson Chandler is up to his same old tricks, rebounding, blocking shots and slamming home sky-high alley-oops.

Only he’s doing it all in a New Orleans Hornets uniform and not one that reads Oklahoma City or Thunder across the chest.

As Oklahoma City takes on the Hornets for the final time this season tonight in New Orleans, the Thunder will get one last glimpse of what exactly it turned down in Chandler, the Hornets’ ultra-athletic 7-foot-1 center.

On Feb. 17, the Thunder traded Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox and the draft rights to DeVon Hardin to New Orleans in exchange for Chandler. Oklahoma City rescinded the trade a day later, however, when Chandler failed his physical after the Thunder’s medical staff and outside consultants had concerns over a turf toe injury to Chandler’s left big toe.

"Maybe the Hornets have a different perception of what’s wrong with him,” said Thunder forward Jeff Green. "But he’s a good player. It’s sad that he could probably have been a big piece for us.”

The nixed deal shocked the Thunder’s fan base and still has many disappointed and wondering whether the Thunder made the right call. Chandler has two more years remaining on his contract after this season worth more than $24 million. For that kind of coin — especially for a small market team in today’s rickety economy — the Thunder couldn’t afford to take a gamble.

Thunder at Hornets
Time: 7 tonight

Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans

TV: KSBI-52 (Cox 15)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM, Sirius 216, XM 235

Live blog:

Three things to know

→New Orleans is 22-9 at home and is currently on a six-game winning streak.

→Hornets forward Peja Stojakovic is doubtful for tonight’s game with back spasms.

→The Hornets lead the season series 3-0, winning by an average margin of 13 points.

Probable starters

Thunder (16-45)
Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast
G Russell Westbrook 6-3 15.7 4.8 5.2
G Kyle Weaver 6-6 1.9
F Thabo Sefolosha 6-7 10.7 6.3 2.0
F Nick Collison 6-10 8.0 6.9 0.9
C Nenad Krstic 7-0 9.6 5.4 0.6
Hornets (38-22)
Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast
G Chris Paul 6-0 21.4 5.3 11.1
G Rasual Butler 6-7 11.0 3.3 0.8
F Julian Wright 6-8 2.8 1.7 0.6
F David West 6-9 20.5 8.0 2.3
C Tyson Chandler 7-1 9.1 8.8 0.6


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