09 july 2014
From the beginning, it was pretty clear that Houston and Dallas, two of the teams that met with star Carmelo Anthony during his free-agent tour last week, were going to come out on the short end of the Anthony sweepstakes. Both were holding out a sliver of hope that they could get involved in LeBron James’ decision, too, but that sliver disappeared by Sunday, when it became obvious that James would either stay in Miami or return to Cleveland.
On Wednesday the Mavericks, who missed out on free agents Dwight Howard and Deron Williams the last two offseasons, turned their sights to the far end of Route 45, attempting to nab Rockets restricted free-agent forward Chandler Parsons by lining up to sign him to a three-year offer reportedly worth $45 million.
This has upset the Rockets’ pending plan for NBA domination, which seemed to be on track as James leans ever closer to a return to the Cavaliers. That move would open the way for Heat forward Chris Bosh to follow James out of Miami, with Houston — which offered him a deal worth $88 million over four years — as his destination. After signing Bosh, the idea was Parsons could be re-signed using his Larry Bird rights.
That required a certain amount of patience and fealty on the part of Parsons, and his signing will put pressure on Houston to make things happen quickly. The Rockets have 72 hours after Parsons signs his contract to either match the offer or let him walk. In order to facilitate a spot for Bosh or any other frontline free agent, Houston would send point guard Jeremy Lin away in a salary dump — likely to the Sixers.
Once that happens, the Rockets could then go back to Bosh and press him for an answer, and there is still hope for Houston that all the pieces could align. They could ask Bosh to take slightly less in salary in order to make the deal fit. But if he were amenable, a starting five of Bosh, Howard and Parsons in the front-court, with Patrick Beverley and James Harden in the back-court, is still possible.
But the Mavs have put themselves in the Parsons arena, cashing in on the good relationship between owner Mark Cuban and Parsons’ agent, Dan Fegan. A front-court trio of Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler could make the Mavs dangerous — if not quite a contender — in the West again. In the wake of the Parsons offer, Houston was already considering its small-forward alternatives should it focus on Bosh and let Parsons walk, including Wizards free agent Trevor Ariza.
The story of the offseason, to date, has been the relative lack of activity, as teams and players have waited on decisions from Anthony and James. In Texas, at least, the wait is over.