When free agency period opens this week, all the attention will be focused on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. But the secondary market of free agents will garner significant interest as well, and one of the most attractive figures will be Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, who will be a restricted free agent.
The 25 year-old averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists while shooting 37 percent from three last season. He was the best bargain in the league as the Rockets drafted him in the second round and had him secured under his rookie scale contract. In order to open up cap room to pursue the likes of LeBron and ‘Melo, the Rockets decided to make Parsons a free agent this summer, when they could have brought him back for one more season.
It’s being reported the Lakers, Bulls, Mavericks and Timberwolves will have interest in making Parsons an offer. Some of those teams on the list will of course be suitors for LeBron and ‘Melo as well, so it’s likely they will make a push to sign one of them before turning their attention to Parsons. The Timberwolves are an interesting team on the list, but if they are planning on pursuing Kevin Love to stay, Parsons would definitely be an acquisition that can move the needle on the conversation with their franchise player.
Now, restricted free agents usually don’t go anywhere, as the teams who employ them usually either negotiate a contract with the player or will match any offer sheet they sign. Parsons is a somewhat different scenario, given that the Rockets own his Bird rights and if they were to re-sign him, they can fit his salary under the cap. That is their plan here, to first recruit a LeBron or ‘Melo, and then give Parsons the money he wants, and have it all work under the salary cap. But that requires the cooperation of Parsons in order to wait until the Rockets do their recruiting while he waits and not take any offers.
Timing will be a key thing for the Rockets to execute their free agency plan, and it looks like several teams will be lining up to disrupt that when negotiations with free agents start tomorrow.
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