Seven-footer Tyson Chandler, a huge part of the Chicago Bulls’ resurgence last season, will be a huge part of their future as well.
Chandler signed a six-year contract worth a reported $75 million Thursday, ending a long and curious free agency period.
The Bulls did not disclose terms, but Chandler revealed that the deal is for six years and ESPN 1000 Radio reported its value.Chandler, 23, was a restricted free agent, which meant the Bulls could match any offer he received from another team. Despite his 7-1 size, length, youth and upside, he drew very little interest.
Meanwhile, the Bulls spent the offseason showing very little urgency in re-signing Chandler or fellow big man Eddy Curry, both of whom helped the team reach the playoffs for the first time in seven years last season.
“In this business, things don’t always happen at the pace you would like, but I knew from the onset that we would make this happen and Jeff Schwartz played a key role in the negotiations,” Bulls vice president John Paxson said.
“This is the outcome we were working towards,” Schwartz said. “Chicago is a great city and John is taking the team in the right direction. I am thrilled for Tyson to begin the next chapter of his career with the Bulls.”
The first chapter had its ups and downs. Taken directly out of high school with Curry four years ago, Chandler struggled with injuries and inconsistency during his first three seasons.
Last season, he emerged as a force beneath both baskets, finishing ninth in the NBA with 9.7 rebounds per game and 13th in blocks at 1.76 per contest. He played in a career-high 80 games – primarily as a reserve – and averaged 8.0 points on 49 percent shooting.
After seven straight losing seasons since the departure of Michael Jordan, the Bulls turned it around last season, going 47-35 and advancing to the postseason for the first time since their last NBA title in 1998. They won the first two games of their first-round series with Washington before dropping four in a row.
“I’m ecstatic that this contract is done,” Chandler said. “To know that I will be in Chicago for the next six years is definitely a dream.”
In 261 games, Chandler has averaged 7.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He was a teammate of Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince at Dominguez High School in Los Angeles.
The Bulls have yet to sign Curry, another restricted free agent who was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat at the end of last season. Otherwise they have been quiet, re-signing free agents Chris Duhon and Othella Harrington.