Tyson Chandler eager to ease LeBron James' burden with Lakers

Tyson Chandler feels he can free up LeBron James to do “special things” and relishes the opportunity to be a hero rather than a villain at Staples Center after joining the Lakers.

The veteran center signed with the Lakers this week after clearing waivers on a contract buyout with the Suns.

He had nine rebounds in a winning debut Wednesday against the Timberwolves, and Chandler, 36, believes he can play a big role in ensuring the Lakers get the best out of superstar James.

Asked what it is like to play alongside James, he said: “I can’t describe it, it’s amazing.

“To be able to have him close out games and know how special he is on both ends — defensively and offensively — I just want to take some of the pressure off him.

“The more pressure I can take off him, it will free him up to do all the special things he has been doing his entire career.”

Chandler went to school in the Compton section of L.A. but has been accustomed to a hostile reception at Staples Center, so he will lap up any adulation from Lakers fans.

“It’s all love, I love them the way they love me.” he said.

“When you’re homegrown and going to high school here, now you have the same fans and you represent the jersey everybody has been cheering for their entire lives, you kind of become one.

“I’ve been on the other side and played the villain, now it’s great to be on this side.”