The NBA’s free agent period is beyond frenzied, and though there’s a 10-day moratorium on signings that begins on July 1, discussions, negotiations, and agreements in principles are reached — often times in the earliest days of the proceedings.
This past offseason was crazier than some, primarily due to the simultaneous availability of multiple star-level talents. Teams (and players) were in a holding pattern while LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh made decisions about their respective futures, while Carmelo Anthony methodically went on tour to try to determine what would ultimately be the best place to play for the next four or five seasons.
The Rockets are one of the more legitimate options for free agents to consider at the moment, with two stars in Dwight Howard and James Harden already in place. But because all teams need to prioritize which players they want the most, there was a window open for Houston to lose one of its own free agents, and the Mavericks swooped in when the timing was just right.
Chandler Parsons agreed to a three-year offer sheet with Dallas for $46 million — one that the Rockets decided they weren’t going to match, even though the team’s GM said all along that he would do exactly that. Parsons, however, admits that he would have taken less money over more years had Houston been willing to commit to him earlier in the free agent process.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Sources say Parsons’ camp tried to convince the Rockets to agree to a four-year, $48 million deal before it even got that far. But Houston, hoping to give itself every chance of making a splashy July signing and then matching on Parsons to form its very own Fab Four of sorts, stunned many league observers by consenting in June to decline Parsons’ $964,750 option for the 2014-15 season and make him a restricted free agent.
“Daryl told me this process is going to be frustrating and you’re going to read a lot of stuff you’re not going to like, but at the end of the day, you’ve worked hard for this and you’ve earned this,” Parsons said. “He warned me it could get ugly at times once the media gets involved and that you’re gonna see people say you’re not worth this or you’re not worth that. [Morey] just sat me down and said, ‘Go out and sign the best contract you can. Just know in the back of your head that we’re gonna match the contract.’
“Dan was trying to negotiate something with them early, and, to be perfectly honest, I would have accepted a lot less money early in the process to stay in Houston. But they told me they wanted to wait for the whole LeBron and Melo situation [to play out], which I understood. I just listened to them. I signed the best deal I could for my own career.”
This comes from a fantastic, longer piece on how everything unfolded between the Rockets, the Mavericks and Parsons in free agency this summer.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey had to take a shot at Anthony, of course, and was reportedly extremely close to convincing Chris Bosh to come to Houston, before Miami stepped up with a full max-level contract to keep him in town.
The cost of failing in these pursuits was the loss of Parsons.
Dwight Howard said Parsons leaving won’t affect the team at all, but the true impact of the organization’s decision won’t be known until later on in the season.