Parsons moving on, but sees Rockets in Mavs debut
DALLAS (AP) — Chandler Parsons should have some new things to talk about with his old coach now that he has his first big contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
At least that’s what Houston coach Kevin McHale is hoping.
“I’m sure he’ll settle down and not be talking about money all the time,” McHale joked before Parsons scored 14 points in his preseason debut as his old team beat the new one 111-108 Tuesday night. “He was killing me when he was talking about money all the time. He’s got enough of it now.”
It’s more than the Rockets wanted to give him, which was part of a somewhat acrimonious departure from the franchise where Parsons spent his first three seasons. He wasn’t happy that Houston made a big deal out of chasing a third star in Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh a summer after putting Dwight Howard alongside James Harden.
Parsons wanted a chance to be more of a headliner, so he signed a $46 million, three-year offer sheet that the Rockets declined to match. And he immediately went about trying to diffuse what figures to be a season-long talking point when these Texas rivals get together.
He didn’t get a whole of time to chat with his old teammates Tuesday night, but it was enough for him to be reassured one more time that there won’t be any hard feelings.
“Nothing’s really changed from my relationship with those guys off the court,” Parsons said. “I’m going to continue to cheer for them and support them. Those guys are my friends no matter what. I’ll continue to talk to those guys throughout the season.”
There was never any issue with Harden, who said he spent most of the summer with Parsons and can relate to the desire to play a leading role. Harden was the third option in Oklahoma City behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook before getting traded two years ago.
Harden needled his friend by saying he “better be ready for the front-line role” since he got the big contract. Of course, Parsons can ease his way into it on a team that still has Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler.
“He’s ready for it,” Harden said. “He’s prepared himself similar to the situation I was in. Kind of went to a new team and had to insert myself and be ready for it. He’s done a great job. He looked really good tonight.”
There won’t be hard feelings for McHale either. He got a warm embrace from Parsons just before the opening tip after his former player talked during the summer about how close they were.
“I’ve got no one left from my first year,” said McHale, who is starting his fourth season in Houston. “I think he was the sole survivor after a year and a half. Good kid.”
Parsons called it “crazy” for his first game in Dallas to be against his old team — but it’ll probably be a little crazier Nov. 22 in Houston. That game will count, and he’ll see what the fans think about the drama that played out over the summer.
“When the ball goes up all that stuff kind of goes out the window,” Parsons said. “When I go to Houston, I’m sure it will be a lot more hype around the game because it’s regular season and it’s me going back there. But tonight was preseason and it was good just to get out there and play against someone different, not just Houston.”
Parsons is also the latest catalyst in what’s been mostly a good-natured rivalry between Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. They’ve been trading barbs since Howard picked the Rockets over the Mavericks and several other suitors.
But Parsons isn’t going to pick sides on that one.
“That being a rival team and everything that happened this summer, I’m sure they’re going to go back and forth, and I’ll probably stay out of that,” Parsons said. “All I can say is I love Dallas, and I’m really enjoying myself here.”