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Donatas Motiejunas doesn’t think Rockets should have paid Chandler Parsons James Harden money

Jul 27, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets Getty Images

James Harden signed what was then a max contract extension with the Rockets back on Halloween of 2012. That netted him $13.7 million last season, and he will make $14.7 million next year.

However, the salary cap has risen quickly in recent years, so guys getting max extensions this year can make a little more — Chandler Parsons is also going to make $14.7 million next season, for example.

Rockets big man Donatas Motiejunas thinks Houston couldn’t match Parsons without ticking off Harden… and there may well be something to that. Here is what Motiejunas told Lithuanian basketball reporter Simonas Baranauskas (hat tip James Herbert at CBS’s Eye on Basketball).

Just to make sure we are accurate, Parsons will make $728,844 less than Harden this year.

It’s an interesting argument put forward by the Rocket big man, but it falls apart here: If Chris Bosh had signed with the Rockets (as they had thought would happen) then the Rockets were going to match Parsons. Harden would have been third for sure with Parsons right on his heels… and if the Rockets were winning he wouldn’t have really cared about the money.

I think what Rockets GM Daryl Morey said was the truth for him — Parsons is a good player but not the start they wanted to pay $14.7 million to and lock them into that big three. There’s some logic there.

But the Rockets bet big this summer and lost depth with Parsons (if last year’s Ariza comes to Houston that spot will be okay, but that’s an if), Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin all gone. Parsons is not an easily replaceable piece and the Rockets don’t look to be a better team then a year ago.

  1. cantonb0und13 - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Who cares.. the Rockets are irrelevant, expect another 1st round exit again.

    • joeypeepee - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      They are certainly relevant or we wouldn’t have taken the time to read and comment on them. In 2 years, they went from winning 34 games to 54 games and now have 2 of the 10 best players in basketball. Just b/c they won’t win the title next season doesn’t make them irrelevant.

      • srirachahhhhhhhh - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        harden isnt even top 20

    • jsala02 - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      sirachahhhhh, Harden was 1st team all NBA, so he is a top 5 player

  2. urodaddy07 - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Ok. No, the Rockets should not have paid Parsons 14+mil a year. The point is that they didn’t have to. Anyway PBT, we’ve flogged this one to death. Time to let it go and just watch the season play out.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Praise Allah!

  3. shadowgamesshades - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Houston could have kept Parsons for $900k for one more year. Houston needs to bring in someone who can take Harden’s ego. Not that he has earned the right to have one since he can’t guard a happy meal.

    • joeypeepee - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Yeah, because Harden is the only star in NBA history that struggles on defense. Dirk, Parker, Kyrie, Melo, Shaq, Bird, Barkley, AI, Magic, Nash, Blake, Cousins, Mullin, Miller, Carter – to name a few – were never thought of as good defenders.

      • srirachahhhhhhhh - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Shaq not a good defender???? GTFO

      • khadeemw - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        So bird was a bad defender…wtf

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        You’re absolutely right about this. All those guys were bad defenders for the better part of their careers… even Shaq. Shaq was not a rim protector like teams expect out of their center. He blocked some shots but half the time he didn’t even get back in time. Let’s not forget that he started every season overweight and out of shape and played his way into shape. As great as Shaq was he could have been a lot better with a great work ethic.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Bird was a very good defender.

        Here is the link to basketball reference dot com’s all time list of the top 250 best defensive ratings of all time.

        One Mr. Larry Bird is 75th on this list.

        Before one snickers, he had 5 seasons with defensive rating below 100 and that’s amazing.

        One Kobe Bryant does not appear with the top 250 nor do many other “good” defenders.

        People go by their eyes far too much. Just because one can’t jump out of the gym, they fail to see the guy play good D and simply cause his man to not make the field goal attempt when he was guarding the guy.

        There is more to defense than being able to jump and block a shot or steal the ball. Yeah, Bird did those things too but he played D in all its aspects.

        The great athletes who aren’t really good basketball players might make the highlight reels but they also are losing their man on D many times and giving up as many points as they’re scoring.

        Bird did NOT come close to giving up more points on D than he scored.

        That is why he’s much higher than what many folks would think as they would say that so and so was a better defender than Bird. Really?

  4. kash71 - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    I wouldn’t pay James Harden, James Harden money.

    • kitch10 - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      Who else is a go-to scorer on the Houston squad? Good as the is are, not Dwight on Chandler.

  5. metalhead65 - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    funny how you did not hear anything bad about this guy last year when he was a important player for the rockets but when he leaves to get the big money deal he thought they would match suddenly they are better off without him? I guess Howard and Hardin can say what they want about him although I thought they were suppose to be good friends at least Howard anyway but I have never heard of this clown talking today.

    • Hard On For Harden - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      Quite the opposite. All I’ve been hearing all season was how Parsons wasn’t good enough as a legit star. Now that he’s signed with the Mavs they have somehow gone from 8th seed to title contender? Whatever. What made Parsons so good was how little he was being paid. However he doesn’t bring star production on a nightly basis. He’s a much better version of Chase Budinger, but star? We’ll see.

  6. bux1022 - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Damn talk about ex-teammates having your back. Out of sight out of mind!!

  7. sprest83 - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Who is Donatas Motiejunas? Next we will hear quotes from water/ towel boy.

    • Hard On For Harden - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      You shouldn’t comment on a basketball blog if you’re going to spread ignorance around like that. He’s not a star or a household name, but any NBA fan should know who he is.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        I think he knows who he is, he is saying it to make a point that donatas hasn’t done squat in the league so who is he to be running off at the mouth. I could maybe say the same thing about harden. He needs to play some defense and spread the ball better and pick his spots better. Most of all he needs to step up and be more of a leader and not put his foot in his mouth like he did. He could of said we will miss parsons but we still have some good players on the team that will step up. Something like that. Oh and maybe he could not disappear and suck in the playoffs quite as much as he has in his career so far mmmkay.

      • duhwighthoward - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        what a comment, what a name

      • metalhead65 - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        um no as a fan of the NBA and Pacers in particular I can honestly say I have never heard of this guy. did he play college ball? if so where because I do not remember ever hearing about him and if you know everyone who plays on a NBA team might I suggest you get a life?

      • Hard On For Harden - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        Didn’t say you had to know every player, but next time utilize google which takes all of 5 seconds before looking like a dope.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        @bkbell3 So Donatas Montiejūnas speaks with a Lithuanian basketball reporter because you know, he’s Lithuanian, and that counts as running off at the mouth? Foreign NBA players say things to reporters in their home countries all the time and most of it goes unreported here. This one got noticed. Calm down.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:53 AM

        Pro, I wasn’t saying that, i was explaining to hard on harden, whose comment i was responding to, that sprest83 knows who donatas is and why he said it that way , Apparently reading comprehension is not a skill you or hard on for harden have acquired yet in your young life. The only opinion i voiced was about harden and his big mouth. So why don’t you calm down and then, um, you know, ah, maybe piss off.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      That is the question.

  8. bellerophon30 - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Now there are three Houston players who are, at the very least, saying that Parsons leaving is no big deal. It makes you wonder just how missed this guy is going to be in the locker room.

    • jsala02 - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      If you have read the comments Parsons has made about himself, you would see that he is clearly very arrogant

  9. iammr713 - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Bench players talkin like starters

  10. haaaaasoooooo - Jul 27, 2014 at 2:53 PM


  11. fbwangus8736 - Jul 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Does this idiot even know if Bosh had signed with Houston that would of made Harden the third highest paided player on the team? Then if they had matched Parsons contract He would of been the 4th highest paided guy? Would of it been ok then?

    • schlitzuous - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:03 AM

      Champion Dirk absolutely has zero problems with this scenario. Dirk declined Lakers and ROCKETS $75M/3yr offers to finally settle on $25M/3y so we could get Devin on for the $9M/3yr deal we reneged on because of his fractured toe that allowed us to sign Monta for $26M/3yr after he opted out of his $11M with the Bucks.

  12. themagicfanguy - Jul 27, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Bird a bad defender? Shaq a bad defender? Kids shouldn’t be allowed to comment on here.

    • mackcarrington - Jul 27, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      I know. Bird had this knack of blocking your jump shot from behind you. it was uncanny.

    • pukpokito - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      Exactly right. Bird was an intelligent player on both ends of the ball.He played within team defense, had an amazing gift of seeing a play before it happens which enabled him to anticipate plays correctly to say the least give it an efficient effort defending.

  13. pukpokito - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    As for Parson, whether Harden said something or Motiejunas said something it doesn’t matter. 3 years/$46 million is just too much to pay for Parsons.He is below average defender especially in the playoffs when things slow down and it is a grind.I remember him saying he was the best player of the series vs Portland. Batum set the record straight on that one and Batum is a good but not great player.No way at 3 years/$46 million to Parsons. Dallas overpaid. Good move by the Rockets.

    • pukpokito - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      Best player …I mean best small forward of the series.I correct myself on that.

  14. rohlo - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    parsons is good,but he seems more focused on becoming a fashion model these days and wearing a former mens figure skater johnny wier type wardrobe with his skinny short pants and wacko looking shoes..

  15. campcouch - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    I guess Motiejunas never watched Harden before the trade. His numbers his final year in OKC are pretty similar to Parson’s his last year in Houston…roles in which both were 3rd options. Of course Harden’s scoring went up once he was named a starter and made the primary, there really hasn’t been much change to his stats since. Did an increase in shots and scoring suddenly make him more valuable? I don’t think so,but Houston was looking for a face,er,beard of the franchise and Harden got paid. I don’t know what numbers Parsons could put up as the #1 or 2 scoring option,but 17ppg isn’t bad for the number three man. Knock on wood, if Harden ever got injured and had to sit a few weeks, I think Parsons would have filled in way better than Ariza as the #2 or if Howard is feeling froggy, as the #1. Ah well,we’ll never know. Parsons will probably fill the same role in Dallas with a bigger paycheck and maybe he’ll evolve into something larger when Dirk retires. I hope Motiejunas keeps this in mind when he has to get paid. He may tick off some other dude on the team.

    • muhangis - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      Parson’s just isn’t that high of a talent. How he performed in college is a clear indicator of that.

      He put up those points cause as a shooter he was consistently left wide open, due to the consistent double teams attracted on Harden and Howard. Not a wonder how he wasn’t able to put up those kind of #’s before the Big 2 in Houston.

      Parsons put up 16.6 ppg, in a wealthy 37.6 mins per game. That’s at a scoring rate of .44, which falls just barely above league avg which is around 0.4 … Included, his steals+blocks/turnover ratio isn’t good either, which you may not heard of, but is an important stat.

      We will see how he does in Dallas…. but he sure got a ton of minutes last year in Houston to put up those just mildly impressive numbers.

  16. Lujah - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    No D-mo. No one “misinterpreted him”.

    I have a slightly difficult time believing harden is this green eyed monster people are painting him to be. Not a fan and never have been but I just didn’t see it raise it’s head. IDK.

  17. 00maltliquor - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Man, what a headache of a teammate Harden must be. Paired with Dwight, they deserve each other.

  18. imakcds - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    if you think you should be the highest paid on the team,then your people need to do their homework and survey the changing scene for the duration of the contract being signed.

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