For a Pre-Season Opener, Mavs-Rockets Filled With Intrigue

Forget Texas-OU Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. Most intriguing game in the DFW Metroplex this week is tonight at American Airlines Center.

With Texas still rebuilding and the Sooners coming off a demoralizing and de-fanging loss to TCU, the annual rivalry has lost its luster. Not so across town, where the Mavs and Rockets are just beginning what should be a fascinating season of head-to-head games.

Tonight’s pre-season opener is meaningless. But it’s also an important tone-setter.

After a tumultuous summer of stealing players and trading barbs, the Mavs and Rockets finally hit the court.

Dirk Nowitzki won’t play because of a sore hip, but Tyson Chandler makes his return and Chandler Parsons makes his debut for the Mavs. That’s Parsons, of course, the former Rocket.

The Rockets had grand plans to sign Chris Bosh and add him to a star-studded lineup including Dwight Howard and James Harden. But the Mavs help deflate those sails, offering Parsons a restricted free-agent contract that Houston ultimately declined to match. Houston also failed to sign Bosh, leaving them with a summer bummer.

In the wake of the events, the Rockets went on the offensive. Harden labeled Parsons a “replaceable role player.” General manager Daryl Morey claimed Houston let Parsons walk so they could sign a legit third star. Parsons went on Houston radio and reminded his former fans that he was indeed developing into that third star.

The Rockets believe Parsons is now an over-priced complimentary player. The Mavs are convinced he’s an emerging star and a vital piece to them rejoining the NBA’s elite.

Tonight we begin finding out who’s right.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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