DALLAS – It won’t take Chandler Parsons long to get a glimpse of the team that allowed him to walk via free agency this past summer.
Parsons played his first three seasons with the Houston Rockets and appeared to be carving out a nice niche within the organization. But when the Rockets first allowed Parsons to become a restricted free agent this past summer, and then refused to match the three-year $46 million offer sheet he received from the Dallas Mavericks, it set off a chain reaction of verbal insults between Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
So, when the Mavs open preseason play tonight at 7:30 at American Airlines Center against the Rockets, this is not just another preseason game. Chandler, though, claims he’s "never nervous’’ when it comes to playing game.
"This being preseason and the first game, I don’t see it being anything out of the ordinary,’’ Parsons said after Tuesday morning’s shootaround. "It’s definitely going to be a little awkward, it’ll be a little weird to play against the staff that I’ve been with the last three years, and I’ve played with most of the guys on that team, so it’ll be a little different.
"But once that ball goes up you forget about all that. I guess it’ll help me out a little bit that it’s in Dallas the first time.’’
Not trying to get caught up in all the hype, Parsons noted tonight’s game doesn’t mean more to him just because it’s the Rockets.
"It’s a chance for me to work on my game with my new team,’’ the 6-9 small forward said. "Just because it’s (the Rockets), it’s a little different, just because I know those guys and this is the first time me playing against them.
"But at the end of the game it’s a game for us to see where we stand right now.’’
And where Parsons stand is unquestionably in position to help the Mavs perhaps win their second NBA title in the past four seasons. That’s why he’s viewing these preseason games as a chance to get acclimated with his new teammates.
"Every time I’m getting ready for a camp or any time I’m in training camp, I’m competing as hard as I can,’’ Parsons said. "That’s the only way you’re going to get better, and that’s what I do.
"Every time I step on the floor I’m not just going to go half speed or 75 percent just because it’s a preseason game and nothing counts. It’s a chance to get better and pick up things that you can get a head start on before the regular season starts and it does count.’’
In short, Parsons will be working hard tonight – probably a little extra hard because it’s the Rockets.
"I’m very excited,’’ Parsons said. "I’m excited for the season to start.
"I’m not excited that it’s Houston the first game. I’m just excited that we have a game and we finally get to play against somebody else.’’