The Houston Rockets made headlines weeks ago when news broke that they declined the fourth-year option of Chandler Parsons‘ rookie contract, making him a restricted free agent this summer. There was risk and reward involved in the move: the chance that Parsons could be offered a new deal from another team so large that Houston wouldn’t match it or that the Rockets could extend Parsons on a discount relative to what he’ll be worth in the future. According to reports, Parsons has the eye of multiple teams as free agency looms on July 1st; Houston will know if its relative gamble will pay off soon.
The news is courtesy of Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears. Much of the interest in Parsons will reportedly depend on which way other major free agency dominoes fall.
The Rockets are interested in re-signing Parsons, league sources said, but his future could also be affected by what happens to Golden State Warriors forward Klay Thompson and New York Knicks free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony…
The Minnesota Timberwolves are still interested in acquiring Thompson in a blockbuster trade that would send All-Star forward Kevin Love to the Warriors, a source said. But the T’wolves also have secondary interest in Parsons, the source said. If the Thompson trade doesn’t happen, the source said Minnesota could attempt a deal sending Love to the Rockets and acquire Parsons in a sign-and-trade. The Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks have primary interest in signing Anthony as a free agent, but also could chase Parsons if they don’t, a source said.
For those keeping score at home, that’s the ‘Wolves, Lakers, Bulls, and Mavericks that would supposedly chase Parsons in free agency hinging on other developments.
As far as that group of suitors go, Minnesota and Los Angeles should to proceed with caution. Young, two-way players with athleticism to spare and shot-making talent are precisely the kind that teams want to build around, and rightfully so. But excitement to add such a piece can lead to over-projection and over-paying, too. Parsons is a very good player, but has been an ancillary scorer thus far in his career and is not the defender that his natural gifts suggest. He can fit anywhere, but teams planning to rely on him and pay him as a primary offensive option would likely end up disappointed. As organizations in varying states of transition, the Timberwolves and Lakers seem like candidates to do just that. They should be patient with Parsons.
He makes much more sense for the Bulls or Mavericks. He’d offer Chicago the much-needed offensive dynamism that its lacked on the wing for years, but wouldn’t be stretched too thin as a scoring hub, either. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will dominate the ball for the Bulls next season barring the addition of a superstar like Anthony or Love, leaving Parsons in a perfect position as the team’s tertiary offensive threat. Meanwhile, Dallas doesn’t need help on that end but could certainly use an injection of youth, size, and athleticism on the wing. Parsons would afford the Mavs those attributes, obviously, and serve as something like their “stopper” on defense while only making Dallas that much more dangerous on the other side of the ball.
Parsons’ positional versatility makes him an easy fit on any roster. He’s a very good player already, and at 25 years-old will only improve as he reaches his prime. Still, teams with ample cap space should be careful by assigning Parsons more responsibility than he’s comfortable handling in the form of a near maximum-level contract. He’s not that type of player, even though after the biggest names in free agency are off the board it will be intriguing for franchises to think so.
What is Parsons worth in free agency?
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