Report: Mavericks shake up Rockets’ free-agent plans, agree to offer sheet with Chandler Parsons

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The Houston Rockets made a calculated risk when they declined Chandler Parsons’ team option and made him a restricted free agent this offseason rather than letting him becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Had Houston simply picked up Parsons’ option, he would have counted safely at just $964,750 against the cap this offseason. Instead, he counts at $2,875,130 until his new contract goes into effect. When it does, his 2014-15 salary will become his cap number, and that will be much higher.

Essentially the Rockets were betting Parsons would patiently wait an offer. Houston would sign an outside free agent first and then exceed the cap to re-sign Parsons.

That plan might have backfired.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

On a three-year contract, Parsons’ max is $46,164,000, so this is a max contract or close to it. Parsons’ max starting salary is $ 14,725,359 – a heck of a lot more than $2,875,130.

The easy path for the Rockets is signing a top free agent during the 72-hour period they have to match, and then they can go over the cap to keep Parsons.

But that’s predicated on other free agents deciding so quickly. Houston might not get everything to line up so conveniently.

If the Rockets match, they’ll be out of the race for any elite free agents and likely anyone who commands more than the mid-level exception. Carmelo Anthony reportedly plans to re-sign with the Knicks, so there’s likely no dilemma there.

But what happens if LeBron James – and therefore Chris Bosh – is still in flux? Would the Rockets match Parsons’ offer? Or would they let him leave on the chance they can get Bosh?

Daryl Morey backed himself into a corner.

The Mavericks might be hamstringing themselves, too. That’s a lot of money to pay Parsons if Houston doesn’t match – though, if Gordon Hayward deserves a max contract, Parsons probably does, too. Those two have similar value.

For the most part, I like the deal for Dallas, even if it hinders long-term flexibility. The Mavericks are trying to maximize Dirk Nowitzki’s final years. Trading for Tyson Chandler was a good step, and this would be another. Parsons is a solid all-around player who immediately makes the team better.

Plus, if the Rockets match and miss out on a premier free agent, Mark Cuban can take pride in making life difficult for a rival.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.

Sprained ankle has LeBron James questionable for opener vs. Celtics

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.

James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.

Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.

James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.

“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”