It is no longer a foregone conclusion that soon-to-be free agent Wilson Chandler will remain with the Denver Nuggets.
According to a report by SI.com's Sam Amick, Chandler has opened discussions with the Toronto Raptors. Chandler's agent, Chris Luchey, told SI.com that the Raptors could offer Chandler a contract without using an exception. Luchey added that there are also six additional teams that Chandler may consider.
Chandler recently returned from a stint in the CBA, where there was no opt out clause. With his team's season done, he is awaiting clearance to sign with an NBA team.
SB Nation's Tom Ziller plainly outlined the scenario for Chandler. Basically, Chandler has three options. He can accept an offer sheet -- a minimum of three years, as Ziller wrote -- with the Raptors or one of the six other teams, a deal the Nuggets would probably match. That would lock Chandler in Denver for three more seasons, meaning he wouldn't have a chance to test free agency in the offseason.
A second option would be to accept the Nuggets' qualifying offer, being that Chandler is a restricted free agent. That would enable Chandler to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, though the pro-rated amount for the qualifying offer would be modest.
Finally, Chandler could opt to sit out the remainder of the season, and re-test the open market, though as a restricted free agent, in the offseason.
Luchey told SI.com that Nuggets general manger Masai Ujiri wants to lock up Chandler long-term, and not to a one-year deal -- which it appears Chandler is looking for -- thus the reason for this process dragging out.
The darkhorse teams in this race could be the Pacers, Kings and Cavs. As ESPN'S Marc Stein tweeted earlier today, all three teams have enough money that they could offer Chandler a deal that the Nuggets may not be able to match.
The route that seems to make the most sense for the former Knick would be signing the qualifying offer with the Nuggets in order to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. While he wouldn't be getting paid much and, as always, would be risking injury, it would allow Chandler to decide his own long-term fate in the offseason.
After March 1, Chandler would be unable to sign with any team but the Nuggets.