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Daryl Morey undecided on Chandler Parsons’ option

May 5, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are going to take a risk with Chandler Parsons, but which one?

Parsons is under contract for $964,750 next season with a team option.

If the Rockets pick up the option, they’d get Parsons for that ultra-cheap salary next year. However, he’d become an unrestricted free agent in 2015, and Houston would face a greater risk of losing him for nothing.

If the Rockets decline the option, Parsons would become a restricted free agent this summer. The Gilbert Arenas applies only to players with one or two years experience, so Parsons doesn’t qualify. But because the Rockets has Parsons’ full bird rights, they could match any offer he receives. Plus, Parsons’ restricted status would likely cool the market for him, because other teams would know Houston could match any offer.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, in a Q&A with Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets:

Q: How do you make a decision on picking up the option on Chandler Parsons’ contract when you don’t know what will happen in free agency two weeks after your deadline to make a decision?

A:”We won’t know everything we need to know when we have to make a decision on Chandler’s (contract) option. We have to make the best decision at the time we have to make it (June 29).”

Morey’s decision very well could hinge on Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin.

Free agents continue to count against a team’s cap until renounced or signed. How much a free agent counts against the cap – called a free agent amount – depends on multiple factors, but whenever Parsons becomes a free agent, he offers a big opportunity for his team.

This summer, his free agent amount would be $1,760,350. Next season, it would be $1,833,025. Either way, that’s extremely low for a player of Parsons’ caliber.

Houston could let Parsons sit on their books at his free agent amount, use all their other cap room and then re-sign Parsons to his larger salary ($9 million per year or so).

But the Rockets aren’t slated to have cap room this summer, so Parsons’ extraordinarily low free agent amount wouldn’t really help now. They’d still just have the mid-level, bi-annual and minimum-salary exceptions to sign free agents.

However, the Rockets are expected to have cap room in 2015, when the contracts of Asik and Lin expire ($8,374,646 each). Then, Houston could use the aforementioned trick to get most from its space before re-signing Parsons, assuming Parsons agrees to wait.

This all changes, though, if Asik and Lin are traded sooner. Either they could be traded for less salary (giving Houston cap room this summer) or a long-term contract (eliminating Houston’s cap room next summer).

Unless he’s already traded them by Parson’s option date, Morey has to weigh the likelihood of trading them later among many other factors. The decisions on Parsons is definitely complicated.

With the information I have available, I’d exercise Parsons’ option, and the call isn’t that close.

Asik and Lin hold actual 2014-15 salaries of $14,898,938 (even though their cap amounts are lower), so trading them won’t be easy. The Rockets definitely think Asik is undervalued, and they might be right. But if nobody else knows it, it doesn’t matter as far as trades. They face similar difficulties with trading Lin.

Plus, at a cheap salary, Parsons is a tremendous trade asset himself. If he becomes a restricted free agent, not only would his higher salary make him less desirable, he’d have the right to approve any trades for a year if Houston matches an offer sheet to keep him.

Unless an Asik-Lin trade emerges before the end of June, the Rockets should exercise their option on Parsons and reap the rewards of their good drafting and smart signing for one more year.

  1. rayvid - May 5, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    He’s not sure about Chandlers option but he’ll pick up the option on his idiot head coach??? I’m starting to question Morey.

    • Kevin S. - May 5, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      Did you read the article at all? He’s not sure about Chandler’s option because of the tradeoff of having him for the minimum this year with no matching rights next summer or having him at a much higher cost this summer but with matching rights to make sure he doesn’t get away.

      • sportsfan18 - May 5, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        It still isn’t a tough call…

        Chandler is someone the WANT going forward and to have him become and UNRESTRICTED free agent next summer would be a stupid move…

        It would amount to them being penny wise and dollar foolish…

      • duhwighthoward - May 5, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        If they don’t pick up the option, then he’ll be an unrestricted free agent right now!

        It’s a no brainer to either pick up the option or sign him to a long-term extension.

        Starting bids on him will be 6 years, $72 million.

      • Kevin S. - May 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        duhwighthoward, if they don’t pick up the option, he’s a restricted free agent right now, and the most any team other than the Rockets could offer him is 4 years, $63 million (depends on where exactly the cap comes in). The Rockets could then match that, and RFA has a tendency to scare away bidders allowing them to perhaps get him at a lower price going forward. That said, it gives them one less year of Parsons on the back end, and I don’t know if they need the extra space this summer, which is an issue talked about in the blog post. The point of declining the option would be attempting to extend him on more favorable terms – is that worth paying (and losing) him a year early?

      • duhwighthoward - May 6, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        @ Kevin S. I stand corrected. Thx 4 the clarification

  2. ihavenonickname - May 5, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Based on the defense Parson’s played on Lillard on the play that ended their season… I would probably hesitate much like Morey.

    • hannsta - May 5, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      Watch the replays, that switch was Harden’s idea, you can see him pointing and Parsons nodding ‘okay’ right before.

      • ihavenonickname - May 5, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        If that’s true it’s hilarious, that play symbolizes everything that was wrong with the Rockets this year – James hardens defense. I like parsons tho, nearly every team would love to pick him up

      • au1978 - May 5, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        Don’t think you can blame Harden for that. McHale’s has said many times in interviews that he tells the guys to “switch everything” for whatever reason. The Rockets have failed at that all season, most notably (before game 6) against the Lakers when Steve Blake was left wide open for a game-winning 3.

      • redbaronx - May 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        @hannsta – Honestly it was probably a good idea. Parsons is taller and has more length. Sometimes plays just don’t work out well.

      • chunkala - May 5, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        Either way, Harden and Parsons both suck.

  3. hannsta - May 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    He should probably release Parsons and tack the extra money onto the back of Lin’s contract.

  4. readysethike - May 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Parsons is a baller. They would be foolish to not pick up his option. He will be playing next year with alot of motivation because it will be his contract year. if he doesn’t perform well they won’t have to resign him, if he does perform well in which i believe he will and does not get injured you keep him and you pay him what he is worth. At this point in time what other SF is out on the market that would be an upgrade over him? Maybe Loul Deng?

    • fm31970 - May 5, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      Lots of teams are hoping Morey does pick up the option, so those teams have a chance to sign Parsons outright next summer. Not sure why Houston doesn’t just offer him a contract extension at this point and keep him long term? He’s clearly more valuable than either/both Asik and Lin to the Rockets.

      • spursareold - May 5, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        Houston has delusions of Melo. Signing CP to an extension would pretty much kill those thoughts.

    • xLith - May 5, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      Carmello can play SF but I’m not sure more offense is what we need.

    • spursareold - May 5, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      I would take Deng and Ariza over him, because they both play D.

  5. bigmeechy74 - May 5, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    good decision not to keep dragic

    • duhwighthoward - May 5, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      Damn, I wish the Lakers had tried to get him instead of Nash! Hope the Rockets let Parsons go and the Lakers don’t sleep on it this time.

  6. spursareold - May 5, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    As much as he’s underpaid now, $9M for a guy who plays off of other players and is a huge deficit on D seems a bit much.

  7. au1978 - May 5, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Morey will find a way to keep Parsons. He’s considered the Rockets’ “glue guy,” even though he admittedly was a bit underwhelming in the playoffs. I think he’ll get as high as $10 mil a year.

  8. jattsoorma - May 5, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    he and mchale will stay……to apease big baby dwight.

    • au1978 - May 5, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Your Lakers scorn is so old. Dwight has proven to be a leader on the Rockets and has been a great teammate. He was the only player who consistently played inspired ball throughout the series, so yeah, his word should hold some weight.

      But regardless of what Dwight wants, Morey isn’t letting Chandler go…..unless he’s somehow able to get Melo.

  9. chunkala - May 5, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    What team is crazy enough to trade for and sign Albatross Lin?

    • money2long - May 5, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      Jeremy has a brother ?

  10. campcouch - May 6, 2014 at 5:54 AM

    Pay him or someone else will. Considering he plays with a few ball hogs,it may be in his best interest to move on and shine.

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