There seems to be a big plan for the Houston Rockets to bring in a third superstar or maximum contract player, which mean they need cap space, which is why they’re not extending the contract of Chandler Parsons, instead allowing him to become a restricted free agent and saving themselves the option of matching any offer sheet he might receive.
The third-year forward averaged 16.6 points per game last season for the Rockets, becoming a slightly more important player in the lineup in terms of his touches on the ball (usage rating up to 19.3%), coming with less turnovers and more assists. Like James Harden, he is sometimes inflicted with the disease of thinking he can do everything offensively while not giving enough of an effort on defense.
Parsons was a second round pickup in the 2011 NBA draft, making him a highly successful selection, averaging 14.1 points so far in his three-year career, proving to be more than just a good shooter. He claims to have a part in Dwight Howard landing in Houston, has a blossoming bromance with Jeremy Lin and is more than just another player waiting for Harden to give up the ball on most possessions.
Parsons has also stated he wants to stay in Houston, but the question is for how much. Some think Parsons can land $12-$13 million a season, but that seems a big high. The Rockets have the option of picking up his contract and he’ll become a free agent next summer, in 2015, but they don’t want to make the mistake of overpaying him just because they’re afraid of letting him go. The Rockets are in the market to land Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love, and although Parsons isn’t supposed to be a part of that deal, you can never say never about teams hungry for big name players.
The more likely players to be used in a trade for a third star are Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, who are a combined $16.7 million for next season as a hit on the cap. A max-contract player taking a bit of a salary reduction in order to fit in with Harden and Howard will be able to go that low before his deal slightly rises in the next few years. That doesn’t leave the Rockets with a whole lot of room for maneuvering and improving their depth which was an issue this season, but if Morey is going hard after the third star, it’s something he’s willing to risk.
Parsons isn’t a superstar but he is a very good player and often in the series against the Blazers in these playoffs was the team’s best player, averaging 19.3 points per game. The Rockets improved on paper but didn’t get past the first round, and for the talent they have, the expectations are a lot higher than just making the playoffs, which was enough a year ago but not now with the kind of players they have and the money they’re paying them.
Morey keeps trying to find a way to squeeze more stars into the limited cap space, but he should look elsewhere when it comes to improve the team. No – this isn’t another rant about how Jeremy Lin is the Rockets’ savior and answer to everything. We’ll talk about Lin tomorrow. However, bad coaching has been a problem for two consecutive seasons, holding the Rockets back. At some point, someone has to realize that under the right hands, this exact same roster would have done a lot more.