Most hardcore NBA fans know about Daryl Morey. The Rockets GM who is obsessed with advanced stats, who makes front office decisions like a fantasy football owner. He’s always looking to make another trade that will set the team up better in the long haul, or sign an unknown player that can contribute right away. Many fans and analysts call Morey a genius, but also think he’s too smart for his own good sometimes.
Recently, he had the plan of signing Chris Bosh once LeBron left Miami, and then quickly matching Dallas’ offer sheet for Chandler Parsons. Thus giving the Rockets a core of Beverly-Harden-Parsons-Bosh-Howard. Good luck finding a nucleus more talented than that. Once LeBron signed with Cleveland, it seemed like a sure bet that Houston would almost instantly transform itself into a top three team in the league. But the plan quickly blew up in Morey’s face. Bosh signed a max deal with the Heat. And then surprisingly, Morey decided to let Parsons go.
Morey didn’t think Parsons is a star, and according to Morey, once the Rockets missed out on Bosh, it was just not worth paying Parsons over $15 million per season. A trio of Howard-Harden-Parsons could not win a title, in Morey’s estimation. As Morey told SportsRadio610:
“It takes three, at least, three elite players with very little exception, throughout history, it takes three elite players and a good set of players that fit around them. Once Bosh said ‘no’ it put us into another very difficult decision of, is matching Chandler Parsons, do we have a better chance of winning a title by matching it or not matching it. That comes down to a very simple question, is Harden, Howard, Parsons a three that can be a championship three? I actually think it can be. I think Chandler is a great player, getting better. Really really good player, no doubt. But the question is actually: is Harden Howard Parson, is that three a better championship odds than Harden, Howard and the team we can put together with a guaranteed lottery pick trade exceptions mid-level young team improving and continuing to be flexible? That was the very tough decision before us. But I can tell you this, in our opinion it was not close. We are in a better [place] to win a championship by not matching it, once Bosh goes away than by not matching it.”
Parsons, meanwhile, appears to be offended by how the Rockets treated him in free agency. They publicly sought out a third star, and Parsons thought he was the guy. Think again. Parsons is a very good NBA player, but he’s no star. Morey is right: you’re not winning a title with Parsons as your third best player. Or if you are, it’s because your two best players are Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. It’s hard not to laugh when you hear Parsons saying he thinks he’s ready for the role of a star. He’s a jack-of-all-trades type of player who can do a little bit of everything, sort of like Gordon Hayward. I’m not necessarily saying the Rockets should have let him walk. Parsons has a nice game, but maybe Morey only would have kept him in order to flip him and some assets for a star in the future. And as Morey said, Parsons’ deal is pretty much untradeable, so why bother to match the offer?
Parsons should be glad. Dallas is one of the best organizations in the league, and Rick Carlisle is the best coach not named Gregg Popovich. Plus, he gets to play Dirk–a real superstar who knows how to win. And Houston? They took one step back and are probably a fringe playoff team in the West now. Houston fans better hope Morey has another trick up his sleeve.