Many were taken off guard when a report surfaced that the Houston Rockets were going to decline the option on forward Chandler Parsons.
However, since Parsons will become a restricted free agent, the Rockets can still ultimately control whether or not they keep Parsons. Although Parsons could command up to $12-13 million on the open market, Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders explains why the Rockets will likely be willing to let him test his value.
As the Rockets did with players like Carl Landry and Chase Budinger, they did not pick up the final year option on Parsons’ contract so that he can become a restricted free agent. This allows some other team to set Parsons’ value and gives Houston the option to match whatever that number winds up being. The risk is that some team might value Parsons at a number that is much higher than Houston is willing to match, which would leave them without their coveted small forward of the future. As a point of reference, one league executive told Basketball Insiders this week that they would probably offer Parsons around $9-10 million per season as a free agent, but could easily see him getting $12 million from a team that was serious about pricing Houston out of the picture.
The other issue for the Rockets is that they would really like to lure another All-Star to town this summer, with Carmelo Anthony being prominently mentioned as someone they would like to add. If the Rockets add another top-dollar player to the roster they might not be as willing to pay Parsons an upper-echelon amount. On the other hand, if team owner Les Alexander is willing to shell out the big bucks to get Houston deeper into postseason play next season, they can wait to re-sign Parsons until after they have taken care of their other addition(s).
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.