LAS VEGAS – Chandler Parsons was "offended" when the Houston Rockets went searching in free agency for a third star in LeBron James, Chris Bosh or Carmelo Anthony instead of sticking with him. Now the former Rockets forward is ecstatic to be a third star with the Dallas Mavericks, and a lot richer, too.
"Honestly, I was offended by the whole process," Parsons told Yahoo Sports on Monday in a phone interview. "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. I don't think I've scratched the surface of where I can be as a player and I think I'm ready for that role.
"You can't knock them for always trying to get better. [Houston general manager] Daryl Morey is very aggressive, is a genius, a great GM and I have nothing but respect for those guys. And they are looking to make their team better. That's what they were doing. I just thought I could be that guy that could do that."
Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists with the Rockets last season as the third scorer behind James Harden and Dwight Howard. Quietly, Parsons was hoping for a bigger role offensively. The Rockets gave Parsons an opportunity to explore free agency as a restricted free agent by opting out of the final year of his deal that would've paid him $964,750.
The Rockets went after marquee players like James, Anthony, and Bosh when free agency began. While the Mavericks were interested in Anthony, too, they quickly convinced Parsons to agree to a three-year, $46 million offer sheet with a third-year player option and a 15 percent trade kicker, a source said. Parsons signed the offer sheet on the first day free agents were able to on July 10 in his hometown of Orlando with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban by his side.
"They really showed how much they cared for me," Parsons said. "They didn't want me to wait for Bosh. They didn't want me to wait for 'Melo. They came forward first."
While the Rockets had the option to match, Cuban was confident in the Mavs' maneuver.
"We knew based on the numbers they were going to have to make some tough choices," Cuban said before the Mavericks' summer league game on Monday.
James left the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anthony and Bosh stayed with the Knicks and Heat respectively. The Rockets, through a sign-and-trade deal, agreed to terms with free-agent small forward Trevor Ariza for three years and $32 million. And on Sunday, the Rockets decided that Parsons' contract was too expensive and didn't match.
"Throughout the whole process they pretty much told me they were going to match everything," Parsons said. "I understand it's a business. I understand they had to do what they thought was best for their organization. It definitely caught me off-guard a little bit."
Parsons said he is close with Cuban, loves Dallas and added that he believes he can compete with a championship in Dallas with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis.
"Dallas is the perfect match to where I am in my career," Parsons said. "It's where I can take that next step. They have a great organization. Mark is the best owner in all of sports. I get a chance to play with Dirk for however much longer he has. It will be unbelievable to learn and grown from him and the guys they have.
"We got a chance to win. Coach [Rick] Carlisle is the best coach in the NBA. It's the perfect situation for me. I'm ready for more leadership. I'm ready for a bigger role. They came at me with a high max offer and viewed me as a franchise player. That's what I wanted."
Parsons played a strong role in convincing Howard to sign as a free agent with the Rockets last summer. They could be free agents in 2016. And if things go well in Dallas, don't be surprised if Parsons tries to convince Howard to join him.
"I'm the best recruiter in the NBA," Parsons said. "Whatever Mark and the Mavericks need, they got me to do that."
He was viewed as one of the NBA's most underpaid players, but under his new deal he will earn a raise of over $14 million next season. Parsons is scheduled to be in Dallas on Tuesday to take a physical and sign paperwork.
Despite feeling slighted by the Rockets, Parsons said he has "nothing but respect" for his former club after playing his first three NBA seasons in Houston. He also said he will remain close with his ex-teammates, Houston coach Kevin McHale and assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
"They gave me my first opportunity,” Parsons said. "They believed in me. They drafted me. I have nothing but love and respect for them. They will have a special place in my heart. The fans were unbelievable and I hope they have no hard feelings. I had to do what is best for my career. "