Recent news suggests that the Houston Rockets are going to decline Chandler Parson's fourth year team option, making him a restricted free agent heading into the offseason. If the Rockets were to pick up the option, Parsons would be under contract for $964,750, a pretty good bargain for a guy that averaged 16,5, & 4 last season.
But with the move, it shows Rockets GM Daryl Morey wants to either lock up Parsons long term, or throw him in a sign and trade package to land a potential third superstar. Houston is already over the salary cap for next season by about eight million dollars. Logic suggests Parsons (with a new long term deal), Omer Asik & Jeremy Lin (both are under contract for one more year at 14.8 million) are going to be primary trade candidates used to land who's on the Rockets wish list. That short list includes Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, & Dirk Nowitzki.
Expect the Rockets to be one of the most active teams this offseason. A disappointing first round exit in the playoffs didn't sit well with them, and although head coach Kevin McHale is safe for now, as his assistant, Dean Cooper was the scapegoat this time around. McHale's seat will be one of the hottest heading into next season, especially if big moves are made this offseason, as anything less than an NBA Finals appearance will be seen as a disappointment with all that talent at his disposal.
Additional ammo for the Rockets is the 25th & 42nd draft picks in this year's draft, and for a team that has a win now mentality, strong indications suggest these picks could be part of a package deal as well.
Houston will have the assets to pull off a blockbuster deal to land someone on their wish list, but it makes you wonder if they will be any better. The superstars previously mentioned aren't the greatest of defenders, and for a team that didn't protect the paint well (opposing teams shot 61.4% inside 5 ft last year), I'm not sure how it gets them over the hump in the gauntlet of the Western Conference. Houston was below the league average in numerous defensive categories last season, including points per game allowed, steals, and three pointers per game allowed.
It will also be interesting to see how the shots are dispersed, as Anthony, Love & Nowitzki all ranked in the top 20 in field goal attempts per game. James Harden is also in that top 20, so who will be the one to sacrifice? You'd also have to imagine Dwight Howard will want a bigger role moving forward as there were times last season he seemed frustrated by a lack of touches. Howard took five less shots per game than Harden, and even Parsons hoisted more shots than the All-Star center.
The Rockets have until June 30th to make the final decision on Parsons option. The free agency period begins July 1.
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