The Rockets will decline the $964,750 option on Parsons' rookie contract. As a restricted free agent, Parsons won't lack for attention on the market, but the Rockets are allowed to match any offer he receives.
"When I got drafted in the second round, I signed the four-year deal and everyone has to go through their rookie scale," Parsons told Yahoo Sports. "It was all part of the process. I obviously thought I deserved more. But I never was bitter or jealous of anyone making more than me. I was just fortunate enough to do this for a living."
The Rockets are interested in re-signing Parsons, league sources said, but his future could also be affected by what happens to Golden State Warriors forward Klay Thompson and New York Knicks free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are still interested in acquiring Thompson in a blockbuster trade that would send All-Star forward Kevin Love to the Warriors, a source said. But the T'wolves also have secondary interest in Parsons, the source said. If the Thompson trade doesn't happen, the source said Minnesota could attempt a deal sending Love to the Rockets and acquire Parsons in a sign-and-trade. The Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks have primary interest in signing Anthony as a free agent, but also could chase Parsons if they don't, a source said.
Parsons, 25, averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists while shooting 37 percent from 3-point range for the Rockets last season. Versatile at 6-foot-9, Parsons could be the best small forward available in free agency after LeBron James and Anthony. He also can play power forward in small lineups.
Parsons made $926,500 in the third year of his rookie contract last season. The Rockets' move allows Parsons to get a much bigger salary a year earlier and gives Houston salary-cap space flexibility to go after Anthony or James in free agency while still being able to match any offer sheet Parsons signs.
"I feel like I'm in a win-win situation because it's happening a year early," Parsons said. "I think a lot of teams could be interested. With the way I play and my versatility, I feel I can pretty much help any team."
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