There’s a Mark Cuban tax in NBA circles that stretches well beyond his millions of dollars in league fines.
Steve Nash leaves the Mavs when Cuban won’t pony up, and Nash becomes an MVP in Phoenix. Tyson Chandler leaves town, as Mark and the Mavs chase “bigger fish,” and Tyson becomes Defensive Player of the Year in New York.
I half expected Chandler Parsons to show up in Memphis with 3 to 1 odds of winning the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. Or maybe his abs would win Sixth Man of the Year.
Instead, at least for now, it seems the Mavericks front office knew exactly what it was doing when it unrolled the red carpet for Parsons, but made damned-sure it pointed outside of the Dallas city limits.
Do I still believe a healthy Chandler Parsons can score 20 points a game, get eight rebounds and five assists? Do I think the mind and the body, when whole, is that sort of talent? Yes. And I might be underselling what he’s capable of.
But, do I also think 100 million dollars is too much to pay for a stat line of 0-0-0 each night? Yeah. Yeah I do. (Harrison Barnes, essentially his Mavs replacement, is struggling in preseason but he's not 0-0-0). And that’s before you consider that he wasn’t a lock-down defender, even before he struggled to return from a second knee surgery in less than two years.
Oh, by the way, in case you haven’t heard, Chandler Parsons still hasn’t played in an NBA game since March of 2016. After a surgery to repair his right knee back in late March, so many "sources'' claimed that the injury was less severe than his previous one and that he’d be ready for offseason basketball workouts. This, they told us, was just a cleanup.
Fast forward to mid-October, and recent news is that Parsons isn’t even playing pickup games with teammates yet.
I wrote, in this very space, that Parsons was a determined athlete -- one who worked his ass off to get back on the court last year. That, while you might fault his body for breaking down, you couldn’t fault his will, nor his effort.
So, if we assume that he’s working just as hard to recover from this “lesser” injury, and he’s progressing more slowly—things are worse than anyone let on 200 days ago.
Does that mean the Mavericks saw something that nobody else saw? If so, did they keep their tea leaves to themselves (outside of some whispers that DB.com has written about) and watch a conference opponent outbid themselves for a broken-down asset?
Or, is this just a temporary setback for Parsons? The signs of a Memphis team so snake-bitten and timid about a disastrous year filled with injuries in 2015-2016, that they’re being overly cautious with every injury this year?
The answer to that question might take a while to unpack itself -- and it may be far more complicated than the more basic (and base) questions like, “Is Chandler Parsons worth 94 million dollars?”
At the moment, he’s worth more to the people paid to talk about games than he is to the people trying to win them.