Chandler Parsons is finally back. Which, unfortunately, means ultimately he could be gone again.
The small forward has fully recovered from last year’s knee surgery and is playing like his star self. Driving to the hoop. Using that clever shot fake. And getting his legs into accurate 3-pointers. He’s been the Mavs’ best player for a couple weeks now, highlighted by back-to-back 27- and 29-point performances in key victories over the Nuggets and Timberwolves.
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But after this season, the 27-year-old Parsons will likely opt out of the final year of his contract and become one of the most coveted free agents in the NBA. To his credit, he’s not allowing himself to think about July when the work is just starting in March.
“My focus right now is solely on finishing this season as strong as possible with the Mavericks,” Parsons told ESPN.com before Sunday’s game against Minnesota. “It'd be selfish of me and a disservice to this franchise and to my teammates to be thinking about this summer when we have a chance to do something special. We'll have plenty of time to think about business this summer. It's basketball season now.”
Certainly Parsons could remain with the Mavs, who stole him from the Rockets a couple summers ago. But he’ll also be heavily recruited, potentially by tonight’s opponent at American Airlines Center – the Magic.
Parsons is playing hard and well and saying all the right things, and owner Mark Cuban didn’t sign him in 2014 just to let him walk in 2016. But after LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the summer’ free-agent crop is not deep. And as many as 20 teams might be able to offer maximum contract offers.
The Mavs will be able to pay Parsons slightly more than other teams. But safe to say he’s picking a great year to have a good year.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.