Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons still has to re-sign with Dallas, and Dwight Howard’s season with the Houston Rockets still has at least Wednesday night’s game at Golden State to go before their ugly season finally dies.
Still, it didn’t stop Parsons on Tuesday from telling the gathered media that he believes Howard will leave Houston and seek a fourth team in six seasons. Parsons, central to the Rockets’ recruiting effort to bring the once-dominant center to Houston from the Los Angeles Lakers before Parsons was whisked away the following summer by Mark Cuban’s big bucks, says he’ll pitch Howard hard to resume his career in Big D.
Of course, word of Parsons’ prediction quickly hit Howard’s ears during Rockets practice in California. Howard responded to reporters: “Is he a prophet?”
Howard followed up by offering the obligatory “not focused on that now” quote: “Our focus is on this basketball game. It doesn't matter what anybody on the outside says. We are friends. We're close. None of that stuff matters right now. This is about this team right here, what we're trying to accomplish. Who cares what anybody else says?”
Parsons said he believes Howard can still “dominate the game” and if he’s going to leave Houston, “why not come here?”
Howard turned down Dallas’ pitch three summers ago to join James Harden and the Rockets. After last season’s run to the Western Conference finals, a season in which Howard was hurt a lot, this season has been a disaster. The ball-dominant Harden isn’t a good match with Howard, who has complained of low shot attempts (8.5 a game, lowest since his rookie season, 8.3) and there’s been season-long speculation that Howard and Harden don’t much care for each other.
Parsons said as much earlier this week during an interview with ESPN. Back in March, Parsons said he wouldn’t rule out a return to Houston if he chooses to opt out of the final year of his contract this summer and the Rockets pursue him.
In last month’s interview with ESPN, he said of his former Rockets teammates: “I want them to do really good obviously outside of playing Dallas. ... I still have a good relationship with Dwight and Pat [Beverley] and T.J. [Terrence Jones] and James. I'm still rooting for those guys in the back of my head, but at the same time, that's a division rival, so I don't hate to see them lose, too.”
There was also a report in March that Parsons could find it enticing to play for his hometown Orlando Magic.
At this point, everything is talk. We’ll see walks the walk when July rolls around.