In his heart of hearts, Chandler Parsons really thought he was going back to play for the Houston Rockets next season and beyond.
After the Dallas Mavericks signed restricted free agent Parsons to a three-year, $46 million offer sheet, the 6-foot-9, 227-pound small forward was sure the Rockets were going to match it . But Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said Parsons’ contract under the deal was “untradeable,” so he didn’t match it, making Parsons a member of the Mavs.
“I definitely was a little surprised that they didn’t match,” Parsons said. “I thought that was the plan going forward that they were going to [match].
“But I think [agent] Dan Fegan and my agency ... did a great job with this contract and really put pressure on them. They decided what they thought was best for their future and they told me to go get my best individual contract, and we both did what we thought was best for ourselves.”
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Houston actually created a problem for itself by allowing Parsons to hit the restricted free agent market. The Rockets owned a player option on Parsons’ contract, and if they had picked it up they would only have had to pay him $960,000 next season, and he would have become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
That gamble didn’t pay of for the Rockets, but it did for Parsons. The three-year veteran will make $14.7 million next season in Dallas.
“It’s crazy when you look at it that way,” Parsons said. “But that’s why I’m so grateful to them, because they really did me a solid by letting me out [of the contract] a year ahead.
“I’m assuming that their plan was to do this and not let me hit the unrestricted market next year so they [could] lock me in and then bargain with that offer. I have no hard feelings toward them at all.”
Parsons believes the Rockets undervalued what he can do on the court and that they figured they could get him for a cheaper price. Otherwise, he feels, it would make no sense for Houston to expose him to the restricted market.
“I think I did everything the organization asked for the three years I was there,” Parsons said. “I was never late, always early, professional, always worked extremely hard, and I produced.
“From my standpoint I’m a very confident guy and that’s the reason why I wanted to come to Dallas, because they do view me as that guy.”
Parsons drew some criticism, after Houston declined to match the Mavs’ offer sheet, for saying he was “offended” by how the Rockets dealt with his situation.
“I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful or disrespectful in any way,” he said. “I just simply meant that I was offended that they didn’t view me as that core piece to their team going forward.
“And they didn’t view me as a third star to be able to win championships there. That was what I meant by ‘offended.’ ”
Playing on a Houston team with Dwight Howard and James Harden, Parsons figured the Rockets’ offense was “tailor-made’’ for what he brings to the table. Now he’ll be looking for that perfect fit in coach Rick Carlisle’s system.
“Obviously playing with James and Dwight was incredible, so I thought it was a win-win situation,’’ Parsons said. “And I have nothing but love for Houston.
“But at the same time I’m definitely excited for a bigger role in Dallas and to be that guy on the team that can hopefully be here for a long time and be a big building block going forward.”
Rashard Lewis signed a one-year contract Saturday with the Dallas Mavericks for the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million.
Lewis, a 16-year veteran, agreed to join the Mavs last week.
A 6-10, 235-pounder from Houston, Lewis played the last two seasons for the Miami Heat and averaged 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game last season. He has career averages of 14.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 1,049 games.
The Mavs still have to complete the paperwork on the contract of forward Richard Jefferson, who agreed to a veteran’s minimum contract with Dallas on July 13. Also, the Mavs have the $2.73 million exception and a veteran’s minimum contract remaining to offer to two prospective players.