When Chandler Parsons left the Rockets for the Mavericks in 2014, he said the biggest difference between Houston and his new hometown was, “It’s cleaner here” in Dallas. Speaking of the Big D, that may not be too far off from what the crowd called Parsons upon his return to Houston as a Maverick.
Now, as he prepares for his first game in Dallas as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, Parsons is pondering the reasons Mavs fans may have for booing his arrival at the American Airlines Center.
“Houston, I get it. I said some stupid stuff on the way out of Houston. Dallas, I don’t understand,” Parsons told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “It’s like getting mad at somebody for getting in a car wreck and breaking their arm. Like, how in the world can you be mad at somebody for getting hurt? It makes no sense.”
Indeed, knee injuries cut short both of Parsons’s two seasons with the Mavericks, and in a more detailed story of the unrestricted free agent’s decision to leave Dallas for Memphis this past summer, we learned it was those injury concerns that, Parsons believes, fractured a relationship between Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Parsons that MacMahon describes as “the NBA’s biggest bromance.”
In MacMahon’s feature article, details of the friendship between owner and player were as heavy as a dive bartender’s pour. The story started with Parsons paying off a taxi driver to leave Cuban behind at a nightclub where the two had discussed the forward’s longterm contract prospects during the team’s playoff run this past spring, with Parsons jokingly screaming the following to Cuban from the taxi:
“Max or nothing, m—–f—–!”
Then, there were the morning tequila shots the pair shared upon the verbal agreement from DeAndre Jordan in 2015 free agency, celebrating what they believed to be the culmination of a plan Parsons and Cuban had hatched together to oust Monta Ellis from the Mavericks in favor of the 7-footer. That plan, of course, was an ill-fated one, which leads us to one final juicy detail from MacMahon’s report.
Parsons believes it was an Instagram photo he took with Jordan — with the hashtag #nohardfeelings — that brought on Cuban’s cold shoulder this summer. After that, Parsons claimed, Cuban cut off direct communication, much the same way Jordan did before returning to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015.
A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on May 1, 2016 at 4:16pm PDT
“Yeah, it definitely pissed Cuban off,” Parsons told MacMahon. “It’s his money and his team. Obviously, he didn’t find it too funny, but I wasn’t trying to get a laugh out of him or throwing shade at Dallas. It was such a story and such an ordeal with us that I was just kind of publicly burying the hatchet.”
Parsons told ESPN he would have taken a discount to stay in Dallas and believed the two sides were close to a deal that would have kept him on the Mavs, but Cuban reportedly denied both accounts to MacMahon, one of two reporters whose press credential he revoked before recently reinstating them.
“Once we knew about the knee injury, our goal was to get him to opt in” to a $16 million player option for 2016-17, Cuban told MacMahon. This tactic was reportedly endorsed by Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle, star Dirk Nowitzki and trainer Casey Smith.
In the end, Parsons did sign a max (m—–f—–) contract with the Grizzlies in July, and Cuban went a different direction, signing free agent Harrison Barnes to the same max deal. It is interesting, then, that both Nowitzki and Cuban pumped up Barnes as the potential heir to the franchise this week.
“He has the complete package,” Nowitzki told the Sporting News. “I’ve worked out with him a couple of times after practices, and he’s got every shot in the book. And he’s looked like a franchise player here the last few weeks. He’s shown us moves that are very impressive, not only shooting the ball, but driving the ball, both ways. He’s got left(-hand) hooks and left runners. He’s shown strong post moves. He’s athletic. He’s a hard worker. He wants to win. So I think the sky is the limit for him.”
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Meanwhile, even though Cuban told ESPN that there was still a place for his old friend in Dallas — in some form in the future — Parsons is left reflecting on how it all went wrong for him on the Mavericks.
“The main reason why I went to Dallas was because I had an owner that was my boy and who believed in me,” Parsons added in MacMahon’s piece. “That’s an awesome combination to have. As my years went on there, I think there was a huge jealousy factor of how cool I was with him, how I had some power and input in decisions that they make. I think that hurt some people’s feelings. I think that made them jealous.
“Looking from the outside looking in, I could see how that could rub people the wrong way. My relationship with him — like, we were so cool, we were so close, I had his ear on a lot of decisions — I think that ended up biting me in the ass at the end.”
So, if Parsons is still looking for reasons why he might be booed in Dallas, he can start with that one.
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