With so many competitive teams in the Western Conference, rivalries are bound to grow more intense with time. In recent years, the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors have played very heated games against one another. Now, James Harden may have added fuel to a growing instate rivalry between the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.
During free agency, restricted free agent Chandler Parsons signed a three-year contract with Dallas worth $46 million. There was question whether or not the Rockets would match the offer. However, once the Rockets agreed with Trevor Ariza, who plays the same position as Parsons, everyone assumed Houston was letting Parsons go.
Looking at the Rockets, most would agree the two best players are James Harden and Dwight Howard. At a charity even in the Philippines, Harden had his own opinions about his role on the Rockets.
According to The Philippine Star, Harden said, “Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces.”
Although Chandler was not targeted directly in the comment, he does fall into the group of the pieces the Rockets lost and he took a little offense to Harden.
On the “Jay Mohr Sports” show on Fox Sports Radio, Parsons responded to Harden.
“That’s a pretty ridiculous statement if he meant that,” Parsons said. “That’s part of the reason I wanted to go to Dallas, because I’m ready for that next step. I’m ready for a bigger role, and I’m ready for more leadership.”
Parsons then went on to point to James Harden’s own experience in that he went through a similar situation playing behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Parsons’ production has grown each year he has played in the league, and one could expect the trend to continue on Dallas. As of now, the projected starting lineup will include Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Parsons. Nowitzki and Ellis will do a bulk of the scoring for the Mavericks. Parsons is the next best weapon in the starting lineup and, due to Nowitzki’s age, Parsons may find the ball in his hands more often.
When the Rockets and Mavericks meet next season, it will be exciting to see how the two teams play against each other. There is no doubt Parsons will be motivated to show the Rockets just what they are missing.