With the Grizzlies set to face the Mavericks tonight, Chandler Parsons will be playing in Dallas for the first time as a member of his new team, assuming his troublesome left knee doesn’t act up. With that game just hours away, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon revisited Parsons’ departure from the Mavs this offseason, providing some interesting details and suggesting that the veteran forward was somewhat caught off guard by the divorce.
“Throughout the whole process going into free agency, I always thought Dallas was going to be the place,” Parsons said. “I thought [Mark Cuban and I] had a mutual understanding that I was going to be there for the whole time and I was going to retire a Mav. Obviously, the second surgery gave him a little doubt, and I believe some people got in his head about it.”
Parsons tells MacMahon that he would have been willing to accept “a lot less” than a maximum-salary contract to remain in Dallas, where he was comfortable, despite his agent’s assurances that he’d receive max offers on the open market. In addition to the Grizzlies, the Trail Blazers appeared willing to offer Parsons a max deal.
While the Mavs were reportedly never interested in offering Parsons the max, the 28-year-old says Cuban assured him the club was having productive talks with agent Dan Fegan, and that the Mavs owner was confident the two sides could work out a four-term deal. Asked by ESPN about those comments, Cuban shook his head, evidently disagreeing with Parsons’ account, writes MacMahon.
According to MacMahon, the Mavs’ brain trust – including president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, head coach Rick Carlisle, head athletic trainer Casey Smith, and Dirk Nowitzki – “shared a consensus concern” about a long-term contract for Parsons, given his knee problems. Uncertain about a long-term commitment, Cuban and the Mavs encouraged Parsons to pick up his player option, which would have paid him about $16MM for one last season in Dallas, putting him in line for a lucrative multiyear deal in 2017 if he could stay healthy. Parsons considered the suggestion “pretty ludicrous,” per MacMahon.
“Obviously that sounds nice, but why risk it? My concern is the same as them. You’re worried about paying my knee,” Parsons said. “You don’t want to pay me long term. These other really, really good teams do. If it’s too much of a risk for them to pay me for four years, it’s way too much of a risk for me to turn down guaranteed $94MM right now. It would make no sense, and no fan, no human, no one in the right mind would not do what I did.”
For more on the Mavs/Parsons split, Parsons’ role in the DeAndre Jordan saga in 2015, and his decision to sign with the Grizzlies, be sure to check out MacMahon’s full piece, which is chock full of interesting tidbits.