For years now, the Houston Rockets have been making a number of small deals in the trading circles. It was all in the hopes that they would acquire assets and stay flexible enough to reel in a big fish in case the opportunity presented itself.
Essentially, anyone not named Dwight Howard or James Harden was considered to be mere pawns and expendable if there was a chance to get a superstar.
That is a big reason why Jeremy Lin was shipped off to the L.A. Lakers and Omer Asik became a New Orleans Pelican as the exchange cleared their respective agreements (worth nearly $15million each) off the Rocket’s books. That is also why Chandler Parsons wasn’t made priority No. 1 in the open market proceedings despite being released a year early to keep him on a long-term deal; his big money contract was presumably to come after the big name free agent was locked in.
And when the likes of Carmelo Anthony, along with Chris Bosh, became available, it seemed as if there was no better time for general manager Daryl Morey to pull the trigger.
Unfortunately, they whiffed on both attempts. ‘Melo re-signed with the New York Knicks and Bosh chose to re-up with the Miami Heat. And just like that, the chance was gone. Houston wasn’t going to add the third star they so deeply desired this summer. Although according to Chandler Parsons, they already had one.
“Honestly, I was offended by the whole process,” said the small forward, who has now signed with the Dallas Mavericks in a three-year deal worth $45million.“They publicly said that they were going out looking for a third star when I thought they had one right in front of them. I guess that's just how they viewed me as a player."
Granted Morey’s outlook on the whole thing does seem somewhat cold-hearted, but that is simply the nature of the NBA business. Players are traded all the time. No-one (unless of course you have a “no trade clause") is completely immune to exit talks. As such no bad blood should really stem from that.
However, the same can’t be said for his star players’ comments afterwards.
“It won't affect us at all,” said Howard, with regards to his former buddy leaving for pastures new. “We have myself and James - the best center and the best two guard in the game on the same team.
Harden also held a similar sentiment and had a little more to add.
“Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets,” he said. “The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we'll be fine next season.”
To be fair to the duo, their comments can be interpreted in several ways. Anyone with ties to the Rockets could view it as them simply saying the team is still in good shape and the future is still bright. Although some (if not, most) people may view their comments as arrogant and just out-right disrespectful – especially to Parsons.
He wasn’t just there to make up the numbers - far from it. He was a key figure in the team, having finished the season as Houston’s third leading scorer with 16.6 points. That’s in addition to providing four assists, grabbing 5.5 rebounds and notching 1.2 steals per game.
That is why Morey had been reluctant to include him in any trade talks; why so many teams where fighting for his signature when he became available; and also why Dallas offered him a contract that will (on average) pay him over $15million a year.
In fact, in all this, he has been the only one to handle the whole situation with class. For the most part he has thanked his previous employers and refrained from taking shots at his old colleagues. Although, he did take to Twitter and shared some simple words of wisdom: “Think before you speak.”
Next year’s season series between these two South-West Division rivals will be something to savour. Things could get ugly.