Rockets general manager Daryl Morey deserves plenty of credit for trading for James Harden and signing Dwight Howard. Recognizing a star-to-be (Harden) is not easy, and luring an establish star (Howard) might be even more difficult.
But Morey was never satisfied – not in an era the Celtics won a championship with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and the Heat took the big-three concept to the next level with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Morey in January, via Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated:
“We feel very comfortable that our two top players are what we need to be a championship team,” said Morey. “And we do need someone to step into that third role. We don’t have our third-best player on a championship team yet, and we need one of younger guys to develop into that — or potentially make an addition, whether it be this year or in free agency this offseason.”
Could Parsons be that player? “He’s definitely got the ability to be the third-best player on a championship team,” said Morey. “He’s played like that many times. The tough transition is whether you bring that level every night.”
But Morey didn’t treat Parsons like that third star this summer, declining his team option and letting him leave as a restricted free agent when the Mavericks made a big offer as Houston concentrated on failed bids for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh
Parsons, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“Honestly, I was offended by the whole process,” Parsons told Yahoo Sports on Monday in a phone interview. “They publicly said that they were going out looking for a third star when I thought they had one right in front of them. I guess that’s just how they viewed me as a player. I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of where I can be as a player and I think I’m ready for that role.
“You can’t knock them for always trying to get better. [Houston general manager] Daryl Morey is very aggressive, is a genius, a great GM and I have nothing but respect for those guys. And they are looking to make their team better. That’s what they were doing. I just thought I could be that guy that could do that.”
The Rockets could have – and should have – exercised Parsons’ team option and paid him $964,750 next season.
Instead, he’ll make $14,700,000 next season and $46,084,500 over the next three years.
Houston did him a HUGE favor by treating him like this. If that offends Parsons, who is definitely not a star (though is close enough and young enough at 25 to get there), so be it.
More than being offended, he should really write Morey a thank-you note.