NBA Free Agency Rumors: Dallas Mavericks view Orlando Magic as biggest threat for Chandler Parsons

Nov 17, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons (25) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets guard Gerald Henderson (9) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 17, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons (25) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets guard Gerald Henderson (9) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks are preparing to hold off suitors for free-agent-to-be Chandler Parsons. And they expect the Orlando Magic to come after him hard.

The Dallas Mavericks believe the Orlando Magic will be the biggest threat to sign Chandler Parsons away from them this summer, Tim MacMahon of reports.

"Those close to the situation consider his hometown Magic to be the biggest threat to steal Parsons from the Mavs. With its pre-deadline dealing, Orlando cleared enough cap space to sign two players to max contracts. Sources anticipate that the Magic will aggressively pursue Parsons."

With the Magic awash in cap space following their trades at the trade deadline, it is clear they will be major players in the upcoming free agency period. They could have up to $50 million or so of cap room if they renounce their current free agents. That should be more than enough to make a run at a few max free agents.

Parsons certainly could be one of those.

Parsons, to his credit, has avoided talk of his impending free agency. He signed a three-year, $46-million deal in 2014 with the Mavericks with a player option for the final year. That means if Parsons opts out this summer, Dallas will not have his full Bird Rights and so will not have a significant advantage in re-signing him this summer.

The max deal Parsons could receive with a salary cap projected at $89 million is a four-year deal at around $90 million starting north of $20 million per year. There will be a lot of teams going after the athletic and versatile small forward this summer with several teams looking for him to fill in that last piece.

What ultimately matters for Parsons and for the Magic is price, role and play. And with just about everyone having max cap room, he will have his pick of role and location where he wants to play. It almost seems certain Parsons is going to to get a max contract this summer.

Parsons grew up in Casselberry, Fla., and went to Lake Howell High School before attending Florida. He grew up an Orlando Magic fan. So there is definitely a connection for him.

All that may or may not matter in the end, although the comfort of home certainly does not hurt.

There is also a need fit with Parsons. He is a long and athletic three, giving the Magic a definite size upgrade over Evan Fournier who has struggled with bigger small forwards. Ever since the Magic traded Tobias Harris, they have lacked length at that forward position.

Parsons is averaging 13.3 points per game and shooting a 57.1 percent effective field goal percentage, making 41.6 percent of his 3-pointers. He is a very good shooter and, despite battling some knee injuries in his career, is still an athletic player who can get out on the break and finish in transition.

He is a good player who could be looking for an increased role and a chance to be more of a featured player. MacMahon suggests in his article there has been some frustration with his role under coach Rick Carlisle.

"However, Parsons and his inner circle have expressed concerns about whether Carlisle has confidence that Parsons can be a franchise player and is willing to give him the freedoms and responsibilities players of that ilk typically receive. Those doubts are fueled in part by occasional crunch-time benchings this season, even after Parsons, who averaged 18.8 points on 52.3 percent shooting from the floor in February, returned to form following a difficult rehab from major knee surgery."

That may just be regular in-season frustrations that dissipate quickly or could be a more serious issue. At some point Dirk Nowitzki will retire and that could open the door for Parsons to step into a bigger role. As MacMahon later notes, Parsons’ field goal attempts have increased each month this season.

The Magic with their mishmash of young talent certainly could afford him that opportunity. And with his ability to spread the floor, he would help the Magic on the nights he is not scoring well on his own.

There is also a secondary benefit. Parsons has become one of the great connectors in the league as one of Dallas’ biggest free agent recruiters. He helped bring Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets and was a part of the group pitching DeAndre Jordan this summer.

That comes secondary though to how Parsons would fit on the team and whether he is worth a max contract on his own.

Free agency is still a long way away — July 1 is still a whole NBA Playoffs away — and the Magic are clearly devising their strategy and picking their targets to use that cap room.

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Bringing Parsons home is certainly one of the options available to them.