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 Oklahoma City rescinded the trade a day later, however, when Chandler failed his physical after the Thunder’s medical staff and outside consultants had concerns over a turf toe injury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. But what’s made the Thunder’s decision an even tougher pill to swallow is Chandler’s string of recent performances. Chandler enters tonight’s game averaging 10.8 points and 11.3 rebounds in 35 minutes per game over the past six contests.
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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: http://www.newsok.com/sports/thunder 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