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With so many teams going after unrestricted free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony, it just makes sense to have a back-up plan.
Plan B for the Dallas Mavericks reportedly involves a pair of small forwards.
The Mavericks' interest in Luol Deng is nothing new, and it makes sense from the perspective of roster construction. Deng is a multi-skilled forward capable of guarding positions one-through-four. He is also a talented offensive player who can occasionally run an offense. Deng averaged 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and three assists per game last season.
But Houston Rockets restricted free-agent Chandler Parsons is a new name in the mix. The 25-year-old small forward is a restricted free-agent, and the Rockets can match any offers lofted his way. He averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists per game, and profiles as a strong perimeter defender with the ability to reliably can open jumpers.
However, the gambit for Houston is this: if Parsons signs an offer, Houston's cap room - which is currently pegged for point guard Kyle Lowry or Anthony himself - would disappear if they match. The Rockets are betting that they can land a free-agent first, before turning back and signing Parsons using his Bird Rights. A reversal of the order would crimp their plans.