One would assume with Houston Rockets restricted free agent forward Chandler Parsons expected to draw rather large, eight-figures-per-year offers starting Tuesday in the NBA's free agency period, that if Houston managed to land their star target in Carmelo Anthony, traditionally a small forward, that Houston would negotiate a sign-and-trade for Parsons. The common thought was that if the Rockets swung out on Anthony, they would re-sign Parsons to a major deal.
But the Houston Chronicle reports that the Rockets' plan to woo Anthony includes keeping Parsons.
When they get down to discussing how the Rockets believe they will be able to build a winner, they will also reveal their plans for Parsons, a 6-9 forward.
The Rockets passed on picking up their option on Parsons' contract Monday, but made him a qualifying offer. That will make Parsons, 25, a restricted free agent, with the Rockets able to match any offer sheet he signs.
Morey on several occasions has said simply Parsons will be back, anyway, but a person with knowledge of the Rockets' pitch said that when the Rockets describe the team they will include Parsons among the teammates Anthony could join.
That's... surprising. Even after the Omer Asik trade, the Rockets are still at approximately $52 million in salary. Even if they trade Jeremy Lin, as is widely expected, that's still $44 million. If you consider that a max-level offer for Anthony starts north of at least $22 million, and expect Parsons to get an offer for at least $12 million per year, that's going to put them into the luxury tax already.
That would be for seven players: Anthony, Parsons, Dwight Howard, James Harden, Terrence Jones, Motiejunas, and Isaiah Canaan. That's assuming they waive Omri Casspi, Patrick Beverley, and Robert Covington.
So it's kind of a bold idea. They'd have the option of bringing back Francisco Garcia (a restricted free agent) and Troy Daniels (same). But after that, it would pretty much have to be minimum contracts. And their tax bill could get outrageous in the years to come.
So this is an ambitious plan. But if there's one thing the Rockets have become known for... it's their ambition.
From a basketball perspective, it's an interesting idea. Presumably, you bring back Beverley, start Beverley, Harden, Parsons, Melo at 4, and Dwight Howard in a lethal small-ball attack. It's top heavy, but it's also essentially unguardable. Even using Beverley's man to double would still leave players like Howard, Parsons, Anthony, or Harden in single-coverage. Defensively? Still meh. But it's intriguing.
All of that assumes they can convince Anthony. That's the hard part, and it starts Wednesday with their meeting with Melo.
One more thing: All of this assumes that the Rockets would keep James Harden. And if that's not the case... this gets a lot more interesting in a hurry.