It's a legitimate question, since all signs point to Chandler Parsons being a free agent this summer: Do you want him playing for your team come 2016-17? Like, sure, you could use him, but do you really want him?
It seems like just yesterday the Dallas Mavericks snatched him from the Houston Rockets with a hefty three-year, $46.1 million deal their Texas rivals weren't prepared to match, but the $16.0 million option in Year 3 of that deal is right around the corner. And while that sure seems like a lot of money, it's a fraction of the roughly $96 million over four years he could command on the open market when the salary cap explodes.
According to intrepid Mavericks insider Tim MacMahon at ESPN.com, the number of potential Parsons suitors is rather extensive, led by the Winter Park (Fla.) Lake Howell High alum's hometown Orlando Magic.
The list of teams interested in Parsons will be long, with sources expecting the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Magic to be among Parsons' suitors. If Durant leaves Oklahoma City, add the Thunder to the list, with a potential reunion with Parsons' coach at Florida, Billy Donovan.
That screams of a bidding war resulting in at least one team dropping that $96 million bomb — and perhaps even owner Mark Cuban throwing the extra few million his Mavericks can offer on top of that pot.
All of which brings us back to the original question: Do you still want Parsons on your team this summer?
Following a return from offseason microfracture surgery on his right knee, Parsons' production has improved each month, culminating in season bests of 18.8 points per game and 65.0 true shooting in February. Throw in five rebounds and three assists every night, and, yeah, who wouldn't want that guy on their roster?
So, I guess the real question is: Do you want Parsons on your roster for a quarter of your team's salary cap?
Regardless of how you feel about Parsons, we can all agree he's not the sort of superstar who can carry a team on his shoulders to a title, but can he be a top-three talent on a championship team? Well, he's filling that role for the Mavs right now — unless David Lee continues imitating Moses Malone after leaving the Boston Celtics behind — and Dallas is currently battling for one of the West's final few playoffs seeds.
Does he make the Heat, Lakers, Nets, Knicks, Blazers, Rockets, Nuggets, Magic or Durant-less Thunder contenders, especially if that precludes those teams from committing another max contract elsewhere? Per Basketball Reference, Dallas is two points better per 100 possessions with Parsons on the floor this seaon. Wesley Matthews, Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia all own superior on/off numbers, so you tell me.
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Chandler Parsons is the prototype for the type of player in this burgeoning salary cap era who is just good enough to warrant a max contract from a team but not quite good enough to merit one from the team.
And this all assumes Parsons doesn't pick up that $16 million option, earn his Bird Rights by playing a third season in Dallas, and then command a five-year, $156.8 million max contract in Dallas starting in 2017. In which case, I'm sure we'll all tune in for Mr. Wonderful's reaction to Cuban on that episode of "Shark Tank."
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