Donatas Motiejunas Takes His Turn on Chandler Parsons
Don't see Parsons on there? Neither does D-Mo.
"Think before you speak." -- Chandler Parsons on Twitter, July 24, 2014
Chandler Parsons fired off these four words of advice late last week.
Taking a run through Parsons' Twitter feed, it's hardly a deluge of self-improvement axioms. He doesn't send out one of these a day to help his 234,000 followers make better life decisions, like some sort of hipster Confucius. No, Parsons Twitter timeline is mostly acknowledgement of other fellow NBA players and tips of the cap to really expensive restaurants in Vegas.
Indeed, Parsons' tweet about thinking before speaking had a much more specific target, likely former teammate James Harden on the heels of this quote last week:
"Dwight (Howard) and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets," said Harden. "The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we'll be fine next season."
Now, in assessing the fallout and Parsons' angst, we have to start out with the truth of Harden's sentiments, and that is this -- Harden's statement is not inaccurate. Look at the Rockets' salary ledger and/or minutes played/workload for guys last year. Max deal (Harden), max deal (Howard), a couple $8 million bench guys (Lin, Asik), then everybody else.
Parsons was clearly the most important of the "everybody else," but he was just that. A role player, albeit a totally tricked out and souped up role player, but not a guy whose health or availability swings the Rockets' season win total by more than a game or two.
Lose Parsons, you're largely in the same strata of the league. Lose Harden or Howard, you dip one or more (in Howard's case) tiers in the overall NBA structure. It's not a slight at Parsons, it's just how it is.
To wit, when we all woke up this morning, the Rockets were 10 to 1 to win the NBA title in 2014-15. Last year, heading into the playoffs WITH PARSONS they were 12 to 1. So yes, for all the hand wringing over losing out on Chris Bosh and allowing Parsons to walk, Houston's odds have actually shortened since swapping out Parsons for Trevor Ariza.
The latest former teammate of Parsons to line up and take a swift kick at the nuts that are his basketball pride is forward Donatas Motiejunas, who figures to get a crack at some of the minutes left behind by Parsons' departure. In what I think is a Lithuanian publication (it had a lot of funny looking letters), here are some translated thoughts from Motiejunas on the state of the Rockets and Parsons' leaving for the Mavericks:
D-Mo on role after Asik trade: "They have cap room, will get someone. Dunno what they'll do. They promised I'd play but dunno how it'll be."— Simonas Baranauskas (@LithuaniaBasket) July 26, 2014
D-Mo on Parsons: "I think that alone determined they couldn't keep him. Harden would be 3rd player on the team & he wouldn't tolerate it."— Simonas Baranauskas (@LithuaniaBasket) July 26, 2014
D-Mo on Harden's 'role player' statement: "I don't pay attention. He can talk what he wants. Maybe someone misinterpreted him." #Rockets— Simonas Baranauskas (@LithuaniaBasket) July 26, 2014
Preface any evaluation of D-Mo's thoughts with the caveat that it's being translated to English and then conveyed on social media (where tone and nuance are garbled, at best), but it appears as though he may have gotten in the rare "double swipe" at both Parsons and Harden -- Parsons for being a glorified role player not on par with Harden, and Harden for being unable to handle possibly being wheel number three in a Howard/Parsons/Harden troika. (A funny notion because it would seem, of any of those three, Harden has the most control over just how big a part of things he can make himself.)
So now what happens? Does Parsons address Motiejunas the same way he took to Dallas radio to fire back at Harden? In part, Parsons' response to Harden was to compare his situation and wanting more on his plate to that of Harden's when he left the Thunder to become the focal point of the Rockets.
The difference is this -- Harden was generally thought around the league to be a player who was ready for the bigger load, whose game was so efficient that an increase in minutes and shots would translate linearly.
And it did.
James Harden got his $15 million salary because the league (most of it, at least) was ready to pay him a max deal. Chandler Parsons got his because the dynamics of the NBA's system -- where teams have to spend a minimum of most of their cap space and yet superstars have a way-too-low hard ceiling on what they can earn -- tend to way overpay upper middle tier third and fourth bananas.
If Chandler Parsons is making a list of everyone who has slighted him and checking it twice, that's cool. Hell, for anyone with a competitive streak, it's admirable. Maybe even expected. I just have a feeling his numbers are going to look a lot like his Rockets numbers when they're all said and done.
And is that worth $15 million a year? When a max level player like Dirk Nowitzki is only taking $8 million a year, maybe it doesn't have to be worth it. Maybe you can overpay for what Parsons brings.
I just don't think when he left upwards of $30 million on the table that Dirk had "overpaying for Chandler Parsons' intangibles" as the item on which the Mavs would use that extra cap space.
In the meantime, we now wait for Isaiah Canaan's or Robert Covngton's or some other Rockets' D-Leaguer's missive on how they never liked Parsons anyway.
That appears to be the way this is all headed, at least.
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