Daryl Morey is at it again. The Houston Rockets will decline Chandler Parsons's fourth-year option in order to make him a restricted free agent, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. But is this the right move for Houston?
Why this makes sense
Parsons was on a ridiculous contract relative to his production and value for the team. By declining the option, it removes the possibility of Parsons becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015.
Instead, Parsons will become a restricted free agent in July, which allows the Rockets to match any offer sheet given to him by an opposing team, including going above the salary cap to do so. This also leaves the potential that Morey could move Parsons in a sign-and-trade deal to land the coveted third superstar Houston has been so adamant about signing.
Morey does this all the time. Lets young guys test the market, matches whatever, flips them down the road. Did it with Landry and Lowry.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) June 4, 2014
Why this doesn't make sense
Including holds and options, the Rockets are already projected to be teetering right at the edge of the estimated $63.2 million salary cap for 2014-15. If Parsons commands a salary in the range of $10 million or more and the Rockets match, that will put them above the cap and just a few million short of the luxury tax.
Houston is top heavy at the moment, with backups Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik commanding far too much salary in order for the Rockets to sign another max player. If Parsons' deal is north of $10 million and Morey fails to make another move, it will be a gamble that their current core is good enough to grow into a contender after a disappointing first-round loss to the Portland Trail Blazers this season.
Likelihood this happens
Without a doubt, this is the right move. Morey has too much to lose by letting Parsons just walk in free agency next summer. As a restricted free agent, it allows the Rockets to find the market for Parsons without actually having to let him go. By matching an offer sheet, it gives Parsons a more workable salary should Morey find the opportunity to flip him for a third superstar later.
I think this is sort of a no-brainer, and the move itself isn't all that shocking or awe-inducing. What really matters is the next move Morey makes to push his team to the Finals. If we know anything, it's that Mr. Morey isn't going to sit still.