The next few times Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki go out to dinner, the new kid on the block likely will feel obligated to reach out and pick up the check.
Nowitzki already did his part.
The Dallas Mavericks’ 12-time All-Star took a huge pay cut so the team would have salary cap space to sign Parsons to a three-year, $46 million contract. That contract, which has a player option for the third year, was signed Tuesday night, two days after the Houston Rockets declined to match the offer sheet to Parsons.
Meanwhile, that deeply discounted three-year, $30 million contract Nowitzki and the Mavs verbally agreed to last week was discounted again Monday to open the doors for Parsons to make North Texas his immediate home. The contract Nowitzki eventually signed was a three-year, $25 million deal — the third year is a player option — as he once again showed his loyalty to owner Mark Cuban’s franchise.
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“It just shows what kind of guy [Nowitzki] is,” Parsons said during a conference call. “Dirk is a true professional and he’s so loyal to Dallas and this organization that those are the type of guys you want in the locker room and those are the type of guys you want to play with.
“Obviously that just shows what a team guy he is to take a cut like that for Mark and [president of basketball operations] Donnie [Nelson] to have flexibility to go out and get a guy like me and try to make the Mavericks the best possible team, and to compete for championships.
“Obviously he knows he could have made more than that and he deserves more than that, but he’s so unselfish and will do anything for the team, and that’s part of the reason why I respect him so much.”
The Mavs value Parsons so much that Cuban was with him in Florida last Thursday — the first day free agents could sign contracts. Parsons, though, was a restricted free agent, so the Mavs had to wait three days for the Rockets to decide whether they were going to keep the 6-foot-9, 227-pound small forward.
When Cuban told Parsons he didn’t want him to wait and see what Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony were going to do in their free agency situations, that sealed the deal for the three-year veteran.
“That just showed me how much they cared and how much they respected my game and how much they wanted me here,” Parsons said. “And I valued that a lot, so I signed as soon as I could.”
The Mavs certainly believe in Parsons’ upside. The 25-year old is one of 19 players currently in Las Vegas vying for spots on the U.S. national basketball team.
“He’s really tall for a [small forward], which is really an added extra benefit, and he can actually slide over to play some backup [power forward] as well,” Nelson said. “He shoots the long ball, he’s able to put it down and create, he’s a very, very underrated passer, a great chemistry guy, and really kind of an old-school multi-talented player that at the age of 25 is a real cornerstone piece for us.
“The other thing he does really well is take the ball off the glass and he’s able to really get you in the open court and bust it out and make plays in the open court as well. Another very, very underrated aspect of his game is he doesn’t need the ball to be effective — he runs very well without the ball, he sets back picks and he’s smart.”
Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, four assists sand 1.2 steals per game for the Rockets last year. Now he’ll be playing alongside Nowitzki, one of his favorite players when Parsons was growing up in Winter Park, Fla.
“I think we can both shoot the ball, I can facilitate to him, cut off him,” Parsons said. “I think we’re going to be tough to guard, especially in pick-and-rolls.
“The show man’s going to have to stay with him and it’s going to allow me to get in the lane and create and find shooters or find Tyson [Chandler] at the rim and throw it back to him. We have so many options now, but I definitely think the combo of me and Dirk will definitely be efficient and respected.”
The only other option for Parsons is to pick up the check a few times when he and Nowitzki dine out. The 16-year veteran has certainly earned the favor.
Mavs add Lewis
The Mavs reached an agreement to sign forward Rashard Lewis to a one-year contract for the veterans minimum. A Houston native, Lewis turns 35 next month. He averaged 4.5 points in 16.2 minutes per game last season for the Miami Heat.