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Oklahoma City Thunder can only dream about what the Tyson Chandler trade might have been

By John Rohde Modified: February 20, 2009 at 4:47 am •  Published: February 20, 2009

photo - Tyson  Chandler - This photo is from December, 2006. BY HUGH SCOTT
Tyson Chandler - This photo is from December, 2006. BY HUGH SCOTT
Until the clock struck 2 on Thursday afternoon, perhaps you were like me, hoping the Thunder would rescind what they had rescinded one day earlier.

There must have been somehow, some way for the Tyson Chandler deal to have gone through with the Thunder offering Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox and the rights to DeVon Hardin in exchange for the Hornets’ 7-foot-1, 245-pound, 26-year-old, budding All-Star center.

Maybe Chandler could have taken another physical. While he turned his head and coughed, the Thunder could turn the other cheek and announce, "OK, we have ourselves a deal.”

Chandler has turf toe. He’s got it bad.

Was there no possible solution to what could have been the Thunder’s most significant trade to date?

What about putting Chandler in street clothes the remainder of this season? Put him on the shelf.

If he needed surgery, do it. If he needed rest, give it.

Proclaim this season a lost cause.

Sitting Chandler wouldn’t hurt your playoff chances because you have no chance. With 28 games left, the Thunder is 10 measly games away from being mathematically eliminated.

Look to next year and beyond.

Fact is, the Thunder did consider this scenario.

"We considered all possibilities, but we had to do what we thought was best for this organization,” general manager Sam Presti said before ducking back into an office with the NBA’s 2 p.m. trade deadline 95 minutes away Thursday.

Big bucks were at stake with Chandler, who is making $10,950,000 this season, $11,850,000 next season and $12,750,000 with a player option in 2010-11.

The Thunder thought the risk-reward was too great, which tells us this is one bad left big toe.

Chandler had toe surgery on April 20, 2007. It was performed by local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Carlan Yates two days after the Hornets’ regular-season finale.

"There was a lot more in there that they had to clean up than they thought,” Hornets coach Byron Scott said that day.

Apparently, something is still in there, which makes you wonder how long Chandler will be able to play for the Hornets.

If Chandler prospers with the Hornets, the Thunder will always wonder what could have been.

Related Links
Jenni Carlson asses the trade

A closer look at turf toe Turf toe is a condition that involves the hyperextension, spraining or tearing of ligaments in the big toe. The condition is common in athletes, particularly those who have played sports on hard, artificial surfaces.

NBA players, such as Hornets center Tyson Chandler, are not immune to turf toe. The painful condition can be bad enough to sideline athletes for weeks — if not end their career.

Multi-sport star Deion Sanders suffered a career-ending case of turf toe. Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert retired because of turf toe, suffered when he was tackling locomotive running back Earl Campbell. Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden has battled turf toe on the right foot and left foot at the same time.

According to, Chandler was bothered by turf toe in last season’s playoffs.

Chandler told the Web site on Wednesday that Dr. Carlan Yates, the Thunder’s team physician, informed the 7-foot-1 center: "I have no doubt you can play on it. I’m just saying it could take a turn for the worse if you come down on somebody’s foot or hyperextended it or something.”

That was a risk the Thunder apparently didn’t want to take.


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