As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, the clock will begin ticking on the Houston Rockets and their dreams of contending in the Western Conference.
As first reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Dallas Mavericks have stepped in and confirmed Houston’s worst nightmare: a three-year, $46 million offer sheet for restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. The deal has a player option for the third year. Once Parsons signs Dallas’ offer, the Rockets will have three days to either match or let him go. And what happens in those 72 hours will be critical for more reasons than just Parsons.
Since they’re no longer being seriously considered in Carmelo Anthony‘s free agency decision, the Rockets set their sights on unrestricted free agent Chris Bosh and offered him a max deal. Although Bosh was seriously considering the deal, his preference has been staying with LeBron James and the Miami Heat, so Houston’s been put on hold until the King makes his decision.
But now that Dallas has made their offer, Houston will have three days from the moment Parsons signs the offer sheet to sign a big-name free agent like Bosh before matching the offer and going over the salary cap. In order to make the required room, Houston will also have to trade Jeremy Lin.
Parsons not getting more than three years on his deal is helpful, but the Rockets will really have to think long and hard about matching Dallas’ offer now. The $15 million per year isn’t a problem. Houston chose to make Parsons a restricted free agent this year just so they could keep him, rather than paying him $1 million for this upcoming season and letting him become an unrestricted free agent next summer. But if the Rockets are serious about signing Bosh to a max deal, that decision may mean they end up missing out on Parsons, because adding Bosh just got a lot more challenging.
I think the Rockets definitely match. The challenge now becomes getting a deal done with Bosh on time…
— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) July 9, 2014
For the Mavs, this is a great move. No offense to Vince Carter or Shawn Marion and all their veteran contributions this past year, but at age 24, Parsons has a lot more ahead of him and is coming off a season in which he averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range.
The Mavericks have already bolstered their frontcourt by reuniting Tyson Chandler with Dirk Nowitzki and will attempt to make a few more Western Conference playoff runs with Dirk entering his twilight years soon. The Mavs could use some depth, shooting and versatility on the wing and Dallas would be getting him at a pretty good price, especially considering what the Charlotte Hornets offered Gordon Hayward.
This move is a bit of a risky one on both sides. The Rockets are now forced to finalize things with Chris Bosh in 72 hours after Parsons signs the offer sheet or they could lose out on Parsons. For the Mavs, this would be a bargain price if Houston chooses not to match, but Dallas could be tied up for three days and miss out on other free agents in the process.