NBA Free Agency Day 1: Update on Five Houston Rockets Targets
Anthony will also meet with the Lakers on Thursday. The main competition for everyone is still the amount of money the Knicks can offer, around $130 million guaranteed over five years.
CHANDLER PARSONS, Houston Rockets
As outlined in this space on Monday, Parsons's free agency courtship is very much tied to Anthony's, since the teams scheduled to meet with Anthony are the same as the ones on Parsons's rumored dance card. In a normal restricted free agency cycle, expectations would be for the first non-Rockets team to bail on their Anthony courtship to turn their attention to Parsons as a less expensive alternative. I theorized on my radio show on Tuesday that the Rockets and Parsons could already have an agreed-to wink-wink number in mind (would four years, say, $42 million, shock anybody?) where Parsons would sign an offer sheet only if it's within a reasonable orbit of that number, with the Rockets' full intention of matching it. The positive to the Rockets is cost certainty and commitment from Parsons (whom they can exceed the salary cap to keep); the benefit to Parsons is an eight-figure payday a year earlier than if the Rockets had picked up his team option for 2014-2015 (and its $964,000 salary).
THABO SEFOLOSHA, Oklahoma City Thunder
On the surface, this would be a great fit for the Rockets, whose major need (non-third superstar category) is a perimeter defender who can check 2's and 3's and knock down open jumpers. That's Sefolosha, and while he fell out of favor (and out of the starting lineup) with the Thunder during the post-season, he's better served coming off the bench than as a starter anyway. At the right price, this would be a good rotation pickup for the Rockets. Main competition would be Clippers and Mavericks.
....and, since he's the best player on earth....
LEBRON JAMES, Miami Heat
While it seems like a foregone conclusion that James is returning to South Beach, his agent, Rich Paul, is taking meetings with a handful of teams so he can keep leverage on Pat Riley to urgently tweak the Miami roster (as if he's not acting urgently enough) and keep his client's options open. It's what good agents do. The Rockets, Suns and Mavericks are among the non-Miami teams James's agent plans to listen to.
Other free agents to keep an eye on for Houston: TREVOR ARIZA (Washington), PAUL PIERCE (Brooklyn), PAU GASOL (Lakers), LUOL DENG (Cleveland).