Chandler Parsons can't stay away from Dwight Howard.
“After watching that last night,” Parsons said, “I hit him with, ‘Come to Houston. That could be us.’”
Apparently, his sales pitch wasn't anything new. According to Feigen, Parsons has been in constant contact with Howard since the offseason began:
I talk to Dwight every day. I’ve created a relationship with him, where I feel like we’re very close. He hits me up about everything. I’ve covered pretty much every question he’s had. I basically tell him, "We have a chance to be really good without you next year. We’re going to have a good season. Why not come and join us, join our core guys who are for sure to be here and make us great, make us contend for a championship?"
That’s the main point I’ve gotten from talking to him. He wants to win. He wants to win rings. It’s obvious there is no better fit, no better team or opportunity to do that than with us.
Parsons' efforts are sure to be appreciated in Houston. Both the fans and the team would welcome the presence of a superstar at the center position leading into next season.
His efforts aren't likely to be perceived as chivalrous by the league, though. They may actually qualify as tampering.
Free agency begins on July 1, meaning Howard is technically under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers until then. Teams are forbidden to discuss their impending pursuits of other organization's players or their situations in general.
Can Parsons' latest act of courtship be considered illegal? By way of Larry Coon of ESPN's definition of tampering in his CBA FAQ, it sure can (via Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk): "Tampering is when a player or team directly or indirectly entices, induces or persuades anybody (player, general manager, etc.) who is under contract with another team in order to negotiate for their services."
Feldman makes reference to the Miami Heat in 2010, when Dwyane Wade prematurely admitted he planned to speak with LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson before free agency began. At the time, neither he nor the Heat were punished for breaking any rules.
Houston has already been fined for tampering once this offseason, along with the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings. Parsons' candid sentiments really aren't helping improve the Rockets' free-agency image.
Not that we're surprised Parsons is maintaining a dialogue with Howard. Short of Big Brother monitoring every conversation NBA players have on and off the court, there's no way to change that.
But at least be more secretive about it. If Parsons is going to pitch Houston to Howard now, fine. For the love of common sense, though, keep your potentially frowned-upon text messages to yourself (and Howard) until he officially hits the open market. Then feel free to come out and publicly sing Howard's praises every day.
Send him flowers, a mixtape or an artificial beard he could fashion in honor of James Harden. Do whatever you want. And do it whenever you want.
Just don't tell us about it until July 1.