Small forward Wilson Chandler has re-signed with the Denver Nuggets on a deal that will pay him $37 million and go through the 2015-16 season, his agent, Chris Luchey, told SI.com.
Chandler's future with the Nuggets was in doubt in recent weeks because of the uniqueness of his situation. He played in China during the lockout and wasn't cleared to play in the NBA until late February. Because Chandler was a restricted free agent, Denver had the ability to either match offer sheets that came from other teams before March 1 or force Chandler to sit out if he didn't agree to a deal.
But Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri did not want to give him a contract that ran through only the end of this season, in large part because it would have allowed Chandler to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Chandler had said he was willing to sit out the rest of the season or play in Italy if an agreement could not be reached, but he will now rejoin his old teammates instead.
With Ujiri in his second season overseeing the Nuggets' roster, he continues to emphasize a more balanced pay scale than is typical for most NBA teams. Chandler is the latest Nuggets player to be pegged as part of the team's new look, joining the likes of the recently extended Danilo Gallinari and Arron Afflalo. The Nuggets made signing Chandler easier with their trade deadline deal on Thursday, when they sent center Nene and his recently signed $67 million deal to the Wizards and acquired young center JaVale McGee. Denver had to waive Ronny Turiaf on Sunday to make room for Chandler.
"We're ecstatic," Luchey told SI.com. "The Nuggets made some moves. They did some things that showed that everything they were saying was accurate. They talked about being a young, athletic team, being a team where a lot of guys make good, solid money and there's not this big gap between the minimum guy and a max player. Having guys feel like they're teammates, not the envious-type typical roster, and young guys who had experience.
"There was a lot of emotion [in negotiations], a lot of things going on within that week. But ultimately we were able to come to a common ground, and say, 'OK, let's try not to screw each other here. Let's figure out what's right. Let's get the right deal done, because we're both going to be in a pickle if this kid doesn't sign now. ... It's a lose-lose for everybody.'"
Chandler came to Denver from New York midway through last season as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade, having averaged 16.4 points per game with the Knicks that season before averaging 12.5 points in 21 games with the Nuggets. He is expected to play for the first time this season in a home game against Dallas on Monday.
"It is great to have Wilson back on our roster," Ujiri said in a press release. "It was a very unique situation signing a talented free agent in the middle of the season, and we worked extremely hard to find an agreement that was best for everyone. Wilson will be an excellent addition for the rest of this season and for years to come."