UDPATE on Wednesday, July 16 at 10:40 am ET by Adam Fromal
Chandler Parsons doesn't want you to get the wrong impression.
Even if he didn't particularly enjoy the process that led to him leaving the Houston Rockets and joining the Dallas Mavericks, he's still grateful for both the opportunity and the former finally allowing him to have a chance at making more than $1 million per year.
"That's why I'm so grateful for them," the small forward explained during a conference call, as relayed by ESPN.com news services. "They really did me a solid by letting me out a year early, and I'm assuming that the plan was to do this and not let me hit the unrestricted market next year, so they could lock me in."
And he continued:
I thought that was the plan going forward but they were going to. (The structure of the contract) really put pressure on them and didn't give them any flexibility for their future if they did match it. They decided what they felt was best for their future. They told me to go and get my best individual contract. And we both did what we felt was best for ourselves.
I didn't mean to sound ungrateful or disrespectful in any way. I just simply meant that I was offended that they didn't view me as a core piece of their team going forward and they didn't view me as a third star that could win championships there. That was what I meant by offended.
I hope I didn't hurt anybody's feelings and I hope there's no hard feelings there, because I had a great time in Houston. I created a lot of memories there and have nothing but love and respect for the organization, the coaching staff and my teammates. But it's just offensive when they're publicly saying they don't have a third star and they're going after a third star when I was right there in front of them.
END OF UPDATE
Since assuming the position of general manager of the Houston Rockets back in 2007, Daryl Morey has earned a reputation for being quite the cutthroat tactician—someone who forces rival front-office decision-makers into acutely uncomfortable situations.
With Chandler Parsons, Morey got a dose of his own medicine.
Right as free agency was beginning to crest toward its LeBron James crescendo, Parsons—a restricted free agent—agreed to a three-year, $46 million offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks, per Yahoo’s Marc J. Spears.
Houston declined to match. This, according to Spears, made Parsons none too pleased:
Honestly, I was offended by the whole process. They publicly said that they were going out looking for a third star when I thought they had one right in front of them. I guess that’s just how they viewed me as a player. I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of where I can be as a player and I think I’m ready for that role.
You can’t knock them for always trying to get better. Morey is very aggressive, is a genius, a great GM and I have nothing but respect for those guys. And they are looking to make their team better. That’s what they were doing. I just thought I could be that guy that could do that.
Someone is salty!
In Morey’s defense, three years and $46 million for a good but still largely unproven player is quite the roll of the dice—one that Dallas was apparently ready to make.
Perhaps the Rockets had a limit in mind for how high they were willing to go. Your thoughts, Mr. Parsons?
Throughout the whole process they pretty much told me they were going to match everything. I understand it’s a business. I understand they had to do what they thought was best for their organization. It definitely caught me off-guard a little bit.
Oh. OK then.
When you talk about NBA free agency, it’s impossible not to think of the old line from Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”
Perhaps the Rockets really did intend on matching any offer laid at Parsons’ feet. Perhaps swinging for—and ultimately missing on—Chris Bosh changed their thinking entirely. Perhaps Morey saw in Trevor Ariza a reasonable, cheaper Parsons facsimile, one that could afford him a bit more long-term flexibility (albeit a bit much).
Or, more likely still, perhaps Morey simply never believed Parsons’ price tag would get that high.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, it might’ve been a little bit of all the above:
With three-year offer sheet to Parsons and opt-out after Year 2, Houston made internal decision it would only match if Bosh signed on, too— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 13, 2014
It’ll take years before we know who really lost out on this high-stakes staring contest. Indeed, as The Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko points out, Dallas isn’t just banking on Parsons succeeding in a vacuum:
If Parsons emerges as a player that perhaps can lead the Mavericks in scoring and certainly add the all-around numbers that he’s improved on every season he’s been in the league, the signing of the 6-9 small forward will pay huge dividends down the road.
Good young talent tends to attract more good young talent.
That’s why the Mavericks were so aggressive in going after Parsons.
If Cuban, the headstrong owner, and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson had listened to fans over the last three summers, they would have thrown up their hands and figured they’d never get it right in free agency. They never surrendered.
Here’s what we know: Given his production over his first three seasons, Parsons has been criminally underpaid. Whether his future production closes the gap on what appears to be quite the gamble, it’ll be interesting to see.
In the end, it’s not like Parsons is heading to some basketball backwater; the Mavericks are just three years removed from their first NBA championship and seem intent on maintaining their status as conference contenders.
Did the Mavs overpay for Parsons?
If anyone is going to get the most out of Parsons’ uniquely versatile skill set, it’s Rick Carlisle.
Which is why, when all is said and done, there’s a good chance Parsons looks back at the summer of 2014 as a blessing rather than a betrayal.