Parsons to the Mavs? Wait and See….
It was well known that the Mavericks had a strong interest in trying to pry Chandler Parsons away from the Rockets as a restricted free agent. But until late Wednesday afternoon no one really knew just how strong. It has been assumed, that no matter the Mavericks efforts, that Parsons would remain with the Rockets. However the Rockets didn’t count on Mark Cuban pushing all his chips into the the center of the table with a three years $46 million offer sheet, daring his equally out of the box Houston counterpart Daryl Morey to match, as Morey was trying to put together a deal that would keep Parsons AND snatch Chris Bosh from the Heat. We now wait until Sunday at 4 PM CT to find out if Parsons will play with his buddy Dirk Nowitzki (Parsons has been part of Dirk’s Heroes baseball game the last two years), or with his buddy Dwight Howard (whom he had a strong hand in recruiting to the Rockets last summer).
From a strictly basketball standpoint, Parsons fills a giant hole at small forward for the Mavericks. While he is not the overall defender that Shawn Marion has been, he presents a much bigger offensive threat. He was one of four players in 2014 to average 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and shoot 45% from the floor. The other three players: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Love. He has very good size for the position at 6-9, and his ability to handle the ball and run the wings presents the Mavericks with the multiple options Rick Carlisle loves to deploy. The fact that he is only 25 years old makes him even more intriguing as the Mavericks have every belief he will continue his upward arc. The Mavericks have not had a player in this position since Josh Howard ten years ago.
The Mavericks were helped by a bit of Houston arrogance. The Rockets could have picked up the fourth year option on Parsons contract paying him slightly under $1 million, but they elected to gamble believing that they could match any offer for Parsons, while trying to land one of the big fish of free agency (LeBron, Carmelo, or Bosh). However, when Charlotte maxed out Utah’s Gordon Hayward (an offer sheet that the Jazz have plenty of room to absorb), who’s a comparable player to Parsons, the dynamic changed. The Rockets tried to do a deal with Parsons, but weren’t going to come anywhere near the number posted by the Mavericks.
Houston, in order to keep Parsons away from the Mavericks, must come to a contract with Bosh (on whom they ultimately decided) while at the same time complete deals that will take both Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik off the books (as well as renouncing the rights to several other players). Houston has deals in place for both, and while Lin looks like he’s headed to the 76ers, the deal with New Orleans for Asik is a bit problematic since the Pelicans need to clear their own cap space in order to absorb Asik’s deal. Can they get that done within the three day window?
And then for good measure the Mavericks also included a trade kicker in the deal, meaning the Rockets can’t deal Parsons for a year – and if they do trade him they must pay the 15 percent bonus, which again counts against the salary cap. It’s a deal which could put the Rockets into luxury tax territory, a place they’re not comfortable being.
The Mavericks have been down this restricted free agent road before. Just prior to the start of the 02-03 season they signed Bucks sharpshooter Michael Redd. Milwaukee wasn’t expected to match but they did. In the summer of 2010, the Mavericks signed center Marcin Gortat from Orlando, believing the Magic wouldn’t pay him that much money to back up Dwight Howard. But Orlando stepped up and matched. Will the third time be the charm? If it is, it’s one VERY dangerous team the Mavericks will have assembled.