Feb 10, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is congratulated by Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons (25) during the second quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets lost a talented, versatile scorer in small forward Chandler Parsons this offseason. Although the 3-man possessed an incredibly low-paying team option for the 2014-15 season, the Rockets declined this and instead choose to pursue him in restricted free agency. Ultimately, Parsons received a three-year, $46 million offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks, and Houston just let him walk.
Quite frankly, the decision to let him enter free agency proved itself senseless. Why would Houston turn down an opportunity to keep Parsons for cheap? Considering the team’s intent to sign an All-Star free agent this summer as well, the choice seems even less sensible.
Clutch Fans – a website notorious for it’s Rockets coverage – recently put forth an answer to this inquiry. What Clutch (the writer) suggested is intriguing, to say the least:
As I’ve been told, Howard’s agent Dan Fegan did not want Dwight in Houston, preferring instead to steer him to another team. Reportedly, that team was Dallas as the agent has a relationship and comfort level with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Dwight preferred Houston. To seal the deal for the premier free agent, Fegan provided the Rockets a list of needs/demands to bring him here and one of them was to let Chandler Parsons, who also was represented by Fegan, out of his contract this summer rather than wait until 2015.
Parsons has since publicly denied that the decision by the Rockets had anything to do with Howard, but I’ve been told by multiple sources that it’s true.
In essence, Houston had to sacrifice Parsons in 2014 to gain Dwight Howard in 2013.
Whether or not the writer’s sources are reliable is beside the point. As far as this theory is concerned, the only thing that matters is the fact logic backs it up.
Aside from the decision to dismiss Parsons’ team option, a plethora of evidence exists supporting this statement. Clutch covers multiple reasons, but I will only discuss two that significantly stand out from the rest.
1) Houston lost a tad less than $2 million in spending space by declining Parsons’ team option.
The Rockets would have only saved themselves $1 million in cap room had they picked up his option. But in an offseason that consisted of Houston chasing max-contract athletes such as Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, any extra space could have helped.
Motivated by the prospect of acquiring an All-Star, the Rockets traded away Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik for virtually nothing to clear cap space (Houston ultimately received Trevor Ariza in the Asik deal, but the Rockets inked Ariza on their own initially).
If the franchise was so focused on freeing spending room, why would they create less space by rejecting Parsons’ option?
2) Parsons fired agent Mark Bartelstein in order to hire Dan Fegan as his new representative in 2013.
As Clutch and this article mention, Fegan holds a close relationship with Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban. Fegan attempted to sway Howard towards Dallas, but Dwight insisted on joining the Rockets.
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However, conveniently enough, Parsons hired Fegan around the same time Howard was preparing for free agency. Fegan suddenly possessed a chance to bring Cuban an impactful player, and he subsequently utilized his unique position with Houston to do so.
The end result: Fegan forced the Rockets to reach an agreement regarding Parsons’ release, and the franchise obtained Howard in return.
This situation is highly feasible to envision. Why else would Bartelstein – the agent for David Lee, Gordon Hayward and Nick Young, among others – get kicked to the curb unexpectedly?
It all just doesn’t add up.
Obviously, one can contend both of these aforementioned arguments. Heck, even the decision to decline Parsons’ option can draw defense, as many would argue it was Houston’s smartest choice moving forward.
All I suggest is you keep an open mind.
Houston strongly desired Howard in 2013. They were on the brink of playoff relevancy, and the franchise felt Dwight could push them over the edge. Consequently, they paid a steeper price than the max in order to achieve their goal.
Come to your own conclusions, but the fact of the matter is that evidence supports this rumor. Leave any questions and/or thoughts in the comment section below.