"I want to be here," Parsons told Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston while being mobbed by female fans at a Macy's fragrance release event (because of course Parsons attended a fragrance release event). "I love Houston."
Hard to fault him there.
On top of a devoted following in Houston, Parsons has a few other reasons to stay put in the Lone Star State.
For starters, the Rockets' up-and-down tempo favors his offensive game. And it probably doesn't hurt matters that the presence of James Harden and Dwight Howard means he'll never have to deal with the pressure of being a franchise superstar.
Going forward, Parsons figures to become an increasingly important part of the team's makeup, as the league is continuing to value players with his skill set. If Parsons isn't streaking to the bucket, he's burying a three, and that's how NBA offense is played these days.
Parsons is in a bit of a strange spot right now, and some might even be surprised he's looking at the potential of free agency this summer.
The Rockets haven't yet declined his 2014-15 option yet, but multiple sources, including Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, say they will. Sooner than later, Parsons will become a free agent.
But that's exactly what the Rockets want, as declining his option now ensures Parsons will hit the market as a restricted free agent. As such, Houston can match any offer he receives—something it couldn't do if it had picked up his option and allowed him to hit unrestricted free agency after the 2014-15 season.
So although missing out on the chance to keep Parsons for under $1 million this season seems like a tough call, Houston's play is the best way to ensure it controls Parsons' value as much as possible.
The Rockets are always among the teams angling for a third superstar to slot alongside Howard and Harden, and you'd have to think a Parsons extension—which will be for a whole lot more than $1 million per year—would make acquiring another max-level talent harder.
But that's not necessarily the case, as Windhorst explains:
If Parsons becomes a free agent, his cap hold -- which is a slot in the Rockets' salary structure that takes up cap space until he is signed -- would be less than $2 million. But the Rockets would retain his full Larry Bird rights, which would enable them to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.
It's complicated, but by declining Parsons' option, the Rockets could make another move to acquire a high-earning star player and then sign Parsons by using the Bird rights to exceed the salary cap.
The Rockets are notoriously creative and crafty, which their handling of this Parsons situation clearly shows.
From every conceivable angle, Houston has a way to come out ahead in its dealings with Parsons.
Even assuming Houston keeps Parsons with an extension, the organization is still only certain to have him, Harden and Howard on the books beyond the summer of 2015.
Thanks to a whole bunch of options and non-guaranteed contracts, the Rockets will have plenty of flexibility a year from now.
And if another team presents Parsons with a deal too rich for Houston to match, all won't be lost. In fact, losing Parsons this summer (a seemingly unlikely scenario) would open up an enormous amount of cap space next summer.
So, really, Houston will either keep Parsons at a reasonable rate on a new multiyear deal or let him walk away and fire a max salary at a third star in a year.
Parsons may love Houston, but the Rockets love being a step ahead of the game even more.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!