The cynics out there might say Chandler Parsons had about 46 million reasons to sign the Dallas Mavericks' offer sheet this summer, but to hear the small forward tell it, the two most persuasive factors had nothing to do with money.
It turns out Parsons was truly taken by Mavs owner Mark Cuban and his sales pitch.
"I truly think he's the best owner in sports," Parsons said. "It's comforting playing for a team and an owner that you know they're never gonna let you be bad; they're always going to look for ways to improve the team. I just have a special relationship with him. I trust him."
Cuban's Mavericks have made the playoffs in 13 of 14 seasons since the billionaire took control of majority ownership in 2000. Never once has Dallas finished below .500 during that span.
In addition to the promise of ridiculously consistent success, Cuban endeared himself to Parsons by going the extra mile to sign him.
The whole night I signed; it was kind of random. His flight (Cuban's) was getting in late. We had finished dinner downtown. So me and my friends and my parents just walked to this lounge in downtown Orlando. He texted me wanting to know where it was. I told him. And he just showed up there with a contract. It's gotta be the first time a player has ever signed in a club.
It's easy to understand Parsons' decision to sign when you hear tales like that. Cuban, ever the hyper-motivated business man, has an incalculable number of plates spinning at all times. To make such a gesture to Parsons—especially knowing the Houston Rockets could simply match the offer—obviously carried weight.
Parsons was also taken with the idea of playing alongside one of his basketball heroes.
"Dirk's one of my favorite players of all time growing up. Having all those things tied into Dallas, it was a no brainer for me to sign that contract as soon as possible," Parsons said. "For however much longer he plays, I'm definitely gonna be a sponge and just take in all I can. There's no better mentor."
Now, contrast all those good vibes and grand gestures with the way Dwight Howard talked about Parsons, and the ease with which Parsons reached his decision is even easier to grasp:
Overall, the Mavericks made it too hard for Parsons to turn down their offer. And while he may have come for the owner and superstar, Parsons will stay for the championship pursuit—something Michael Pina of Sports on Earth thinks is now more realistic than ever.
"With Dirk Nowitzki still hanging on as a dark horse MVP candidate and Rick Carlisle functioning as the second best coach in the league, Dallas is perhaps once again on the brink of another title run," Pina said
As for the Rockets, there's also a no-brainer that applies to them: They're a lot worse off now than they were when the summer began, and they only have themselves to blame.
"Before this whole process started, they had told me ‘You’ve earned this. You deserve this. Go and sign the best deal for your career. Just know in the back of your mind that we plan on matching,'" Parsons said. "Throughout the process, I definitely thought they were gonna match the contract."
As we now know, the Rockets didn't match.
Parsons' decision to switch Texas teams might not change the balance of power in the West, but it will definitely stand as a reminder that cold analytics can't always compete with culture and cash.