In a move that surprised many, the Houston Rockets have decided not to pick up the option on forward Chandler Parsons.
Parsons is entering the fourth and final year of his contract and is set to make $960,000, but by declining the option, the Rockets will make Parsons a restricted free agent rather than letting him hit unrestricted free agency in a year. The Rockets will likely let Parsons test the market and sign an offer sheet with another squad before deciding whether or not they will match the offer.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Persons is due for a big raise and could command up to $12 to $13 million a season once he hits the open market.
In one scenario, Houston could secure three max-out players – including Howard, Harden and a potential star free agent – and then re-sign Parsons to an extension below the max-level range. Parsons could command in the $12 million to $13 million annual range, league executives tell Yahoo Sports.
For Houston too, there’s little motivation to let agent Dan Fegan get Parsons into the summer of 2015 as an unrestricted free agent. Rockets officials fear Fegan’s ability to score Parsons a monster contract on the open market. This way, Houston declines the team option now, clearing the way for Parsons to get a bigger payday a year sooner than scheduled. Ultimately, this could be a better climate for Houston to negotiate an extension with Parsons.
Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 47.2% from the field, 37.0% from beyond the arc and 74.2% from the free throw this season.