That apparently set a tone for their relationship.
A fantastic story by Tim MacMahon of ESPN details the Cuban-Parsons relationship – one that included plenty of wining and dining, friendly banter and Parsons getting real input on roster construction.
Parsons has long fancied himself a recruiter, and he pitched former Rockets teammates Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley on joining him in Dallas. Parsons’ piece de resistance, though, was DeAndre Jordan. Parsons led an extravagant recruitment of Jordan that led to Jordan committing to the Mavericks, breaking off communication with Cuban and then reneging to return to the Clippers.
Dallas had no choice but to move on without Jordan. Parsons helped the Mavericks reach the playoffs, though his season ended due to injury. He opted out anyway – and that’s where things became complicated between Parsons and Cuban.
For weeks after the regular season ended, Cuban consistently told Parsons that they’d get a long-term deal done, according to Parsons. Asked about that by ESPN, Cuban simply shakes his head, evidently disputing the account.
Cuban’s unofficial advisory council — which includes president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, Carlisle, head athletic trainer Casey Smith and Nowitzki — shared a consensus concern about a long-term commitment to Parsons. As free agency approached, team sources say they were unanimous that it’d be a poor business decision to commit a major share of the Mavs’ salary cap to Parsons for the next four years because of his knee problems.
Two team sources also cited locker room concerns with Parsons, although those were labeled as “forgivable, fixable things.” The primary concern: The fact that Parsons was so close with Cuban and wielded so much power in personnel matters.
“The main reason why I went to Dallas was because I had an owner that was my boy and who believed in me,” Parsons says. “That’s an awesome combination to have. As my years went on there, I think there was a huge jealousy factor of how cool I was with him, how I had some power and input in decisions that they make. I think that hurt some people’s feelings. I think that made them jealous.
“Looking from the outside looking in, I could see how that could rub people the wrong way. My relationship with him — like, we were so cool, we were so close, I had his ear on a lot of decisions — I think that ended up biting me in the ass at the end.”
“That was the weirdest part to me,” Parsons says. “How DeAndre was kind of starting to get shady and ignore Mark’s calls, that’s kind of like what Mark started doing to me. So it was like, ‘Damn, you know what? I get it. We’re going through negotiations. I know free agency can be tough sometimes, but at the end of the day, you’re my friend.’
“I was being avoided. I was being pushed out. I was being ignored. So awkward.”
I highly recommend reading MacMahon’s story in its entirety for more details on Parsons’ and Cuban’s time together, their breakup and their potential future together.