Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Mavs owner Mark Cuban downplay the intensity of their personal rivalry in interviews with Marc Stein of ESPN.com, even though both have made some incendiary statements about the other. Their teams have been involved in a tug-of-war over high-powered free agents in the past few summers, and the case of Chandler Parsons brought the rivalry into focus. Stein’s piece sheds light on many unreported aspects of Parsons’ free agency, and the entire piece is worth a read, particularly for Mavs and Rockets fans. We’ll share the most newsworthy tidbits here:
- The Cavs were the most fervent suitor of Parsons early in free agency this summer, viewing him as a plan B if LeBron James didn’t return, and Kyrie Irving, a friend of Parsons’, tried to recruit him to Cleveland, as Stein chronicles. The Mavs weren’t willing to wait on a definitive “no” from either LeBron or Carmelo Anthony before swooping in with their offer sheet, one that Parsons agreed to rather than sign a two-year max deal that the Rockets offered, Stein also reports.
- Parsons told Stein he would have re-signed with the Rockets for less early in free agency, and Stein hears he sought a four-year, $48MM deal from Houston, which was instead engaged in a pursuit of more established stars.
- Cuban was honest with Parsons about the risk that he was taking, as he explains to Stein. “I told Chandler from the start [of free agency]: ‘Do you want me to be brutally honest with you?'” Cuban said. “And he said yes. So I told him with as much granularity as I could that I think it’s a 10% chance at best that we could get ‘Melo, but we had to try. Then, we started hearing our percentage was getting higher, and I told Chandler that, too. But then, when we weren’t hearing a whole lot from the Melo camp, we knew we were pretty much out. So I told Chandler [on July 9th]: ‘I could end up being the dumbest idiot in NBA history, but even if LeBron comes back to us and says he’s choosing us, I’m committing to you.'”
- The Mavs were also high on Gordon Hayward and Eric Bledsoe, but they found Parsons the most obtainable of the three restricted free agents they wanted most, Stein writes.
- Morey pursued Kyle Lowry early in free agency, but cooled on him and turned his attention to Chris Bosh instead, as Stein explains. Bosh seemed on his way to the Rockets before he inked a five-year max deal with the Heat, and even Morey thought that he had Bosh within his clutches, as he admits to Stein. “Given our understanding of where things were,” Morey said, “we felt like we were 95 percent-plus to potentially having the best team in the league. There was nothing promised, but I did believe [Bosh] was coming in almost every scenario except the one that happened at the last minute [Miami trumping Houston’s offer with a five-year max].”
- The Rockets agreed to trade Jeremy Lin to the Lakers before receiving a commitment from Bosh because the Lakers refused to wait any longer and because a trade proposal from the Sixers instead would have cost multiple first-rounders instead of just one.
- The Rockets, like many teams, are turning their eyes to 2016, and they plan to let James Harden act as the primary recruiter for former teammate Kevin Durant, who can hit free agency that summer, Stein writes.
- Agent Dan Fegan proposed the structure of the three-year offer sheet that Parsons signed with the Mavs, and the three-year length, in particular, drew raves from Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace, who noted its contrast with the typical four-year offer sheet, as Stein passed along. Cavs GM David Griffin also expressed admiration for the deal, as he tells Stein. “The contract structure was extremely creative,” Griffin said. “I think it will be a significant moment in the way restricted free agency discussions are handled in the future.”