New Mavericks wing Chandler Parsons was throwing out the first pitch of a Rangers game this month rather than suiting up for USA Basketball as they take on the world’s best in the FIBA World Cup in Spain. In a conversation with NBA.com’s Jeff Caplan, Parsons admits he “definitely wanted to be in Spain,” but thinks “it’s a blessing in disguise not making the USA Team.”
Mark Cuban, the man who offered a three-year, $45 million contract to Chandler — to steal him away from a Rockets team Chandler thought, “would match” — is also a vocal opponent of NBA players risking their multi-million dollar careers by representing Team USA. Still, Cuban conceded to letting Parsons try out:
“Yeah, he made that clear to me,” Parsons said. “He did. He’s great … He obviously told me how he felt. He told the world how he felt about his guys playing for USA Basketball. But at the same time he understood it was something that I was really passionate about and it was something that I really wanted to do. So, I was planning on making the team and playing for the team. You take a risk of getting hurt anytime you step on the floor.”
That’s been the company line since Paul George suffered a broken leg during the first inter-squad scrimmage. Cuban believes USA Basketball would have been a disservice to Parsons since he wouldn’t get as much playing time as a rotation player and his offseason conditioning might have actually suffered.
Chandler disagrees, telling Caplan, “I think I got better going there and I got in shape. Just being able to play against those guys every single day, it’s not often that you get to learn and play and practice with those type of players every single day in the summertime.”
Still, he thinks it’s been a blessing in disguise when he — along with Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver and Damian Lillard — was one of the last cuts.
“I think it’s a blessing in disguise not making the USA team, giving me a chance to come here and be a leader and get to know the young guys and work with the coaches. I think that’s going to be a good thing for us going forward, that I was able to come here a month early and get my feet wet, so everything’s not brand new when training camp opens up.”
You could say the same Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, who will likely use the cut as a motivating tactic for next season.