With the recent news that the Houston Rockets are going to decline their option on forward Chandler Parsons and allow him to become a restricted free agent, it begs the question of whether the Orlando Magic would have interest in him.
From the get-go, Parsons would fit the criteria that general manager Rob Hennigan desires: he’s young and has already proven himself to be a very efficient player. He’s only 25 and in three seasons has averaged 14.1 points per game, including a career high 16.6 this season.
What could benefit the Magic even more is that Parsons is a Florida boy. He was born in Casselberry and played his four-year collegiate career at Florida before being the 38th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
While Parsons has never stated he wants to play in Florida, you have to imagine it would be very appealing to him.
He now may get the chance.
The Rockets appear willing to decline the $960,000 option they have on him in 2014-15 in a bid to free up cap space to possibly add another max-contract. They do however want to re-sign Parsons.
But their tactics are risky as if another team, say the Magic, offer Parsons a contract that he signs, the Rockets will have to match it or he’ll be leaving Houston. It’s rumoured that Parsons could command between $12 and $13 million annually.
But on the court, where would Parsons fit in? Parsons plays small forward and the Magic currently use Maurice Harkless, and sometimes Tobias Harris, at the SF position. However, since his arrival in Orlando, Harris has played the majority of his minutes at power forward after primarily playing small forward in Milwaukee. Harris has played very well since for the Magic, averaging 15.5 points per game since his arrival, plus he’s just 21.
Last season he averaged 14.6 PPG while hauling in seven boards a game while shooting 46 per cent from the floor. Harris is often considered the future PF for the Magic and while his three-point shooting leaves something to be desired, Harris has shown a lot of promise in his short time in Orlando.
Harkless, also 21, has been a mixed bag. He’s shown flashes of brilliance but also long stretches of mediocrity. In two seasons he’s averaged 7.8 points per game. He probably took a step or two back during the 2013-14 season, but he still has promise and can be a good contributor off the bench.
So where does this leave Parsons? Well, if the Magic sign him, he would come straight into the line-up at SF, while leaving Harris at power forward. That would form quite the frontcourt with Nikola Vucevic at center. Harris and Parsons have the ability to stretch the floor with their three-point shooting so the Magic would have numerous avenues to find buckets.
I would imagine Hennigan would have interest in Parsons. It’s been reported that the Magic won’t be breaking the bank this summer, but adding a player of Parsons’ youth and quality would be a great step forward for Orlando.