Dallas Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons, who led the team’s recruiting campaign for DeAndre Jordan, described himself as “shocked, very disappointed, frustrated, disrespected” that the big man reneged on his verbal commitment to join the Mavs and re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“This is something that I’ve never seen in my career, and I know that it doesn’t happen very often,” Parsons told ESPN.com on Thursday. “When a man gives you his word and an organization his word, especially when that organization put in so much effort and I walked him through this process and was very, very open and willing to work with him, it’s just very unethical and disrespectful.”
Jordan made his initial decision to sign with Dallas instead of staying with the Clippers last Friday morning, informing Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Parsons at his home in suburban Los Angeles. Parsons first learned Monday from Cuban that Jordan might be having second thoughts.
Jordan confirmed to Parsons via a text message that “something in my heart is telling me to meet with them again” on Tuesday, and Jordan welcomed a Clippers contingent that included owner Steve Ballmer, head coach/team president Doc Rivers and players Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick and Paul Pierce to his Houston home on Wednesday afternoon.
When Jordan made his original commitment, Dallas still had a couple of decent potential backup plans to fill its void at center, such as trading for Roy Hibbert or signing Kosta Koufos. At this point, the Mavs are left scrambling, likely destroying their chances to contend for a Western Conference playoff spot.
That’s a hard pill for Parsons to swallow days after celebrating the commitment of a fellow 26-year-old he believed would become a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate with a featured role in Dallas.
“He wasn’t ready to be a franchise player. He was scared,” Parsons said. “He was scared to take the next step in his career. There was no other reason other than that he was comfortable and he has friendships there. How you make a business decision like that is beyond me. How you ignore an owner like Mark who is in your hometown just waiting for a chance to talk to you is beyond me.
“I don’t think he made a mistake. I think he’ll be good in L.A. He’s got a good team, he’s got a great point guard, he’s got Blake, but I think he could have been a superstar in Dallas. He could have been the man in Dallas. Never in a million years did I think that this was even a possibility.
“I’ll still be friends with him, but I can’t get over the way that he’s put our entire franchise in jeopardy. It’s normal to get cold feet. It’s normal to get second thoughts, but you don’t back out of a commitment of this much magnitude this late in the game and just leave us high and dry.”
Most of the Clippers’ contingent remained at Jordan’s home until the NBA’s free agency moratorium ended, and he was able to sign his four-year max contract at 11:01 p.m. CT. Jordan refused to answer calls or texts all day Wednesday from Cuban, who had been promised another face-to-face meeting with the third-team All-NBA center. Jordan also didn’t respond to Parsons for several hours until sending him a late-night text message informing Parsons of his final decision and saying he hoped it didn’t affect their friendship.
“There will be a time when I detail everything I know regarding the last 48 hours,” Cuban wrote Thursday morning in a Cyber Dust message to fans that never mentioned Jordan by name. “I don’t think the time is right to say anything beyond the facts that he never responded to me at all yesterday. Not once. To this minute I have not heard anything from him since Tuesday night.
“More importantly, I specifically told [Wesley Matthews] that I would not hold him to his commitment if he wanted to go elsewhere. I can’t print his exact response, but suffice to say he is excited to play for our Mavs:) Wes Matthews is exactly the kind of player we want in a Mavs uniform and our fans will love him.
“He will be in Dallas today so if you see him give him an MFFL [Mavs Fans for Life] welcome.”
The Mavs knew they were taking a risk by pursuing Jordan, particularly after former Dallas center Tyson Chandler committed to signing a four-year, $52 million deal with the Phoenix Suns on July 1, moments before the Mavs’ meeting with Jordan.
Jordan’s decision to intentionally ignore Cuban, who traveled to Houston on Wednesday in anticipation of an 11th-hour meeting, particularly bothered Parsons.
“The kind of guy that he is, the kind of guy I thought he is, would never do something like that,” Parsons said. “That’s tough for me to swallow, just from the fact that I know how excited Mark was. I know how invested Mark has been throughout this whole process. That’s what I don’t get.
“Be a professional. Pick up the phone. If you’re not going to meet with him, pick up the phone and tell the guy that you’re committed to what you’re feeling, what you’re going through and maybe he can talk it out and help you. But do not ignore the guy. Do not make him sit there and sweat it out. That’s just very unprofessional. I can’t get over that part.”
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SOURCE: ESPN – Tim MacMahon