Things are going to get heated when the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets square off during the 2014-15 season.
Expect Dwight Howard to do everything possible to swat away Chandler Parsons' shot attempts, while the small forward who switched teams will do whatever's in his power to shut down James Harden and torch his old squad.
The trio has been at each other's throats—verbally, not literally—ever since Parsons signed an offer sheet with the Mavs, one the Rockets failed to match after falling short in their pursuit of Chris Bosh, instead replacing the young Florida product with Trevor Ariza.
As Dallas owner Mark Cuban said during an appearance on Dallas' KTCK-AM 1310, as relayed by The Dallas Morning News, "They [the Rockets] looked at every player as an asset. That asset was a step toward getting another asset. We look towards how do you build a team. Chemistry matters to us. Culture matters to us. We made it a difficult contract to trade because we have no intentions of trading him."
That's about to be a little clearer. Let's run back through the sequence of events in this developing feud.
First, as Parsons told Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears in a phone interview, Houston's desire to add a third star offended him, largely because that process tacitly stated he wasn't considered one:
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. [Houston general manager] Daryl 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.
Fast-forward five days.
"It won't affect us at all," D12 told The Associated Press, via ESPN.com, referring to the departure of his former teammate. "We have myself and James. We have the best center and the best two guard in the game on the same team. It's on us."
Lots of bragging, both from Parsons and Howard. The former thought he was the third star Houston was looking for, and, well, Howard's remarks speak for themselves.
NBC Sports' Brett Pollakoff wrote after the exchange, "Displaying false bravado in essentially saying, 'Nah, we're good' when losing a player who contributed as much as Parsons without getting anyone to replace him is not only ridiculous, but shows the level of delusion Howard has when it comes to the game of basketball."
But wait! There's more!
"Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets," Harden explained to of The Philippine Star, not acknowledging that the losses of Parsons and Jeremy Lin were significant ones. "The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we'll be fine next season."
And that brings us back to Parsons.
Think before you speak.— Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons) July 24, 2014
That's a pretty ridiculous statement, if he meant that. And that's part of the reason why I wanted to go to Dallas. I'm ready for the next step, I'm ready for a bigger role and I'm ready for more leadership. If anybody should understand it should be James, because he was in same situation in Oklahoma City and then he got the chance to come to Houston and shine.
Anything could happen next.
Howard and Harden might respond, thoroughly denying the importance of Parsons and trying to make the case that he's massively overrated and now overpaid. Parsons could continue his own assault, leaking stories about the two incumbent Rockets that maybe shouldn't be made public. At the same time, the whole thing could just blow over.
Well, until they meet on the court. There's no blowing over then, especially given the history between these two organizations. As ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon breaks down, the two front offices have been rivals for a while now, and this is only the latest set of affronts from one side to the other.
That's going to be one intense regular-season series, and just imagine if they meet in the playoffs.