Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons is busy in Las Vegas working out with the USA Basketball National Team Mini-Camp. During some downtime he took a moment to talk to Marc Spears at Yahoo about luring Dwight Howard to the Rockets.
“I think I had a big impact,” Parsons said at USA Basketball’s mini-camp. “The first thing he said at the press conference was that, ‘You guys should thank Chandler Parsons because he is a big reason why I am here.’
“Obviously, he loves the team, [general manager] Daryl Morey, coach [Kevin] McHale and all that. But I think I just gave him that comfort that you got one of your boys here who is also a key part to the team, a young guy. And we can grow on this for a long time.”
“I spent a lot of time during the summer in L.A.,” Parsons said. “We kind of just hit it off. We literally would text every day. He’d call me at 8 p.m. with a question and then he’d call me at midnight with the same question. I respect the way he handled [his free agency]. He took his time and weighed all his options.
“I was just that guy trying to make him feel as comfortable as possible. We have very similar personalities. We are both outgoing. We’re always smiling. We like to have fun. I made him really comfortable that he was not only coming to a really good team, but a team with his friends on it.”
Parsons told Howard that playing for the Rockets was like playing for a “college team.” And he told Howard that the Rockets would be a good playoff team without Howard, but great with him.
Before free agency even began, Parsons told friends he believed Howard would join the Rockets.
“I said I was 95 percent sure he was coming,” Parsons said. “I was comfortable enough and I could tell the way he was talking to me and how he was excited about things in Houston that I was sure he was going to come.”
Parsons was also a part of a large Rockets contingent that visited Howard in L.A. after free agency began July 1. Prior to the meeting, Parsons passed on some advice to Rockets management.
“I told them what they needed to prepare for with the pitch,” Parsons said. “I told them what he thought about our team and what his concerns were. I was in the middle of Dwight and the Rockets, just kind of bringing them together.”
Parsons is an Orlando native and former University of Florida basketball player who originally met Howard while Howard starred with the Orlando Magic. The two became closer after Parsons switched to Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, in May. That connection sparked a fast friendship between Parsons and Howard, and eventually worked to the Rockets’ benefit.