Mavericks' pursuit, overpayment of Parsons could pay huge dividends

The Dallas Morning NewsJuly 15, 2014 

The Dallas Mavericks' perseverance helped turn Chandler Parsons into a major asset for the organization. They didn't let years of coming in second place in free agency deter them.

Now they need Parsons to justify the Mavericks' $46 million investment and become a franchise pillar, which would be crucial to their long-term health.

If the Mavericks want to be serious players on the free-agent market next summer - Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rajon Rondo all could be in play - it would be to their advantage to advertise to those potential free agents that Parsons has arrived as a young NBA star.

There's no reason it can't happen.

Parsons told a Houston television station on Monday that it was a factor in his decision to sign the Mavericks' offer sheet.

"I view myself as an up-and-coming star," Parsons told Fox 26. "They were the ones that made the offer and look at me like a franchise-max player. I want a bigger role. Mark Cuban and coach 1/8Rick3/8 Carlisle made that clear to me. That's how they view me. I couldn't be more excited."

If Parsons emerges as a player that perhaps can lead the Mavericks in scoring and certainly add the all-around numbers that he's improved on every season he's been in the league, the signing of the 6-9 small forward will pay huge dividends down the road.

Good young talent tends to attract more good young talent.

That's why the Mavericks were so aggressive in going after Parsons.

If Cuban, the headstrong owner, and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson had listened to fans over the last three summers, they would have thrown up their hands and figured they'd never get it right in free agency.

They never surrendered.

It took a monster contract offer - clearly overpaying compared with market value - but sometimes that's what has to happen to guarantee some success in the high-stakes NBA talent grab that happens every July.

Slowly, it appears the Mavericks are getting more respect as free-agent players. Last summer, they were in the final three of teams vying for Dwight Howard. This summer, they got audiences with Carmelo Anthony and the agent for LeBron James.

And, they bagged Parsons, who might be the third-best free agent of the crop.

"When you are on the short list for Carmelo and LeBron, it's a reminder that you're a consideration and you're doing things the right way," Nelson said Monday. "We feel like that's a good sign not only for now, but moving forward."

And might Parsons' continued improvement be critical to the Mavericks' future?

"We don't throw those words like that 1/8star3/8 around lightly," Nelson said. "But clearly he's a real good, solid fit for us, and we feel really good about where things are right now. Chandler has good size and has old-school versatility."

When you add on the trade for Tyson Chandler, this has been perhaps the most productive summer in the Cuban ownership.

One of the key elements about Parsons is that he's only 25. For a team that has seemed to grow wrinkles at a rapid rate, that's a huge injection of youth. And he's more athletic than you might think. He can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim if the defense gives too much respect to his potent three-point shooting.

What remains to be seen is whether Parsons' arrow will continue to point upward.

His numbers from last season - 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists - suggest he's got all-around talent that could produce triple doubles and figure to keep improving as he is just brushing into his prime.

Is the pressure on Parsons? Without question.

But it appears he's going to get every opportunity to respond to that pressure.

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