The Mavs And Their Parsons Project Problem
On the eve of free agency, the Rockets have declined the team option on the contract of Chandler Parsons. That sets him "free.'' Kinda.
But this move really means there is a qualifying offer making Parsons a restricted free agent. There are some who view him to be on the same talent tier with two other Mavs targets, Trevor Ariza and Luol Deng. And Parsons certainly has the Dirk Nowitzki Stamp of Approval, telling our Mike Bacsik, "Parsons is my boy.''
But really, he's Houston property. The restricted-free-agent clock makes it so.
We think the idea that Parsons deserves a $10-mil-a-year deal -- which would increase his present salary tenfold -- is being bloated into acceptability by the fact he's been such a bargain in Houston. If Ariza and Deng had been playing on the terms of cheap rookie deals, wouldn't we all think even more highly of them?
But back to the restricted-free-agent clock.
Today's paperwork allows him to negotiate with other teams. But the Rockets can match any contract offer he receives. ... and he can't actually sign an offer sheet until the opening of NBA business on Thursday, July 10 (at 12:01 a.m.). From there, Houston has three days (until the close of the business day at 5 p.m. Sunday the 13th) to make its decision.
So say Dallas learns very quickly that Melo isn't interested and quickly turns its attention to prioritizing Parsons. The Mavs can negotiate with him and even verbally agree to a deal. But not until July 10 is their verbal agreement official ... and even then, they might not get him. (In fact, if Melo doesn't go to Houston, the Rockets will almost certainly elevate Parsons on their priority list and retain him no matter what.)
Meanwhile, as the Mavs are moving their salary-cap chips to the center of the Parsons table -- with a wait until July 13 for answers! -- Ariza and Deng (with no restrictions) are signing elsewhere.
So would Dallas rather wait 13 days for a maybe-shot at "Dirk's boy''? Or, once Melo says no, put its chips onto tables for Ariza or Deng, knowing that when they say yes, a deal is secured and they can pursue the rest of their roster?
The answer is obvious, which is why Chandler Parsons is really not in play here ... unless Ariza and Deng both say no, and Hayward is also retained in Utah ... and for some reason, by July 10, Parsons finds himself out of favor with Houston. (By the way: Hayward in Utah and Bledsoe in Phoenix are, like Parsons, RFAs. So these same blockades exist there.)
Ah, but I promise you the Rockets have discussed their plans with Parsons to orchestrate this thing to go their way. (Worst-case for him: Houston gets Melo or Love and then works with Parsons to get him sign-and-traded to a new city.) And the rules of restricted free agency are orchestrated in a way designed to promise a suitor like Dallas ... nothing.
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