Update, July 1, 3 p.m.: Chandler Parsons has signed a four year, $94 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Chandler Parsons era, dangling by a thread, appears to officially be over in Dallas. The 27-year-old forward has "no chance" to return to the Mavericks in free agency, a source told ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
Parsons' worth in free agency has been highly contentious, but his price was always very clear. If Dallas offered him the max, he was heavily favored to return, and if not, then he was gone. On one hand, Parsons was valuable to the Mavericks because he was obtainable, which is always the most attractive quality in a free agent, more so than any other target the team will pursue this summer. Parsons has a rare skillset, standing 6'10 with point forward skills, and his best two-month stretch with the Mavericks came late last season when his surgically repaired knee appeared to be almost fully healthy.
It seemed any chance that Parsons might return in Dallas ended when Parsons had to undergo a second surgery in March, though. The minor procedure to repair his meniscus wasn't serious, but it was enough for the Mavericks' front office to sway Mark Cuban, Parsons' biggest fan. Rick Carlisle notably had concerns with Parsons, benching him at the end of games and hinting that he wasn't sure he would ever be the star Parsons believed he could be.
After the injury, it seemed that the Mavericks never truly considered bringing Parsons back on a max deal. There was still mutual interest when Cuban lobbied hard for Parsons to pick up his team option, something that would allow him to receive an even larger pay day the following summer. But you can't blame someone coming off two knee surgeries for taking the financial security, especially since Parsons spent his first three years making the league minimum.
Now the Mavericks' eyes are firmly looking ahead to meetings with Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside. They'll have plenty of contingency plans, as they should, but Parsons won't be one of them.
DeAndre Jordan will always be one of the biggest what-if's in Mavericks' franchise history, but Parsons' departure doubles down on that. There's little chance Parsons would leave if Jordan had come here, it seems, especially since Parsons is exactly the type of player who thrives next to an elite rolling big man. Instead, Dallas will look for an entirely new starting lineup for the sixth time in six years since winning the championship. Perhaps this is the year they'll finally acquire some pieces to send them into the future. More likely, just based on history, they'll continue to tread water with two- and three-year deals that keep them relevant into April, but never pushes them past a first round exit.
It was a fun ride, Chandler. It wasn't even a year ago that he had the entire Dallas fan base behind him after calling out DeAndre Jordan for his unprecedented departure after verbally agreeing to sign here. Now, at least half the fanbase can't wait to see him go. He'll probably get booed in his first game back here. But ultimately this is what Dallas wanted, not Parsons. They chose this outcome, for reasons both known and unknown. Only time will tell how right they are.