When the Warriors take on the Lakers on Christmas Day, Golden State will go up against a paint presence that was nearly theirs.
Tyson Chandler began the season on the last-place Suns. After losing seven of their first eight games, Phoenix bought out Chandler's contract, making the 7'1" center a free agent after he cleared waivers.
Chandler then faced a decision. He had offers on the table from both the Warriors and Lakers. Initially, the draw of the back-to-back champs appeared as if it would win out.
"Honestly, I was leaning more towards Golden State at the beginning," Chandler told Lakers.com's Kevin Ding. "Just because that's kind of you know what you're getting. I'm also close with a couple of the guys over there."
Of course, that's not how it played out.
"But when I sat back and thought about my legacy," Chandler continued, "I'm like, 'What would mean more to me?'"
Chandler grew up in Los Angeles, starring at Dominguez High School in Compton, California. His desire to return to his roots, combined with his passion to mentor young players, pushed Chandler to opt for purple with his gold, rather than blue.
On Christmas Day, the Warriors will get a first-hand look at what could have been.
Chandler is an 18-year NBA veteran, so Golden State knows the scouting report at this point. A supreme rebounder and rim protector, Chandler made an obvious choice for the Warriors' final roster spot, and that was before their depth at the position was severely tested.
Draymond Green missed 14 of 16 games before returning for the last seven, and Damian Jones is more than likely done for the year after tearing his pectoral muscle. Kevon Looney has been solid, but nothing special, and Jordan Bell has been underwhelming, at best. If anything, the Warriors could use Chandler more now than ever before -- confined to this season, at least.
"Of course I could've been a help there; I feel like I could be a help anywhere I go," Chandler told Ding.
Not only will the Warriors not have the benefit of Chandler on their own roster, he's still in the division, playing a key reserve role for Golden State's biggest threat within the Pacific, and perhaps, the Western Conference.
Now, there will still be intriguing options available to the Warriors on the buyout market in the spring. Chicago's Robin Lopez --who offers a similar skillset to Chandler -- could be a logical fit, according to the New York Times' Marc Stein.
That's at least two months away though, so the Warriors will have to contrive solutions in the meantime, likely internal ones.
Of course, DeMarcus Cousins is expected to join the lineup at some point in early 2019.. Depending on how effective he can be coming of Achilles surgery, Chandler's decision to opt for the Lakers over the Warriors may have no consequence for Golden State at all.