Remember when Chandler Parsons signed his contract with the Dallas Mavericks while he was with team owner Mark Cuban in the club? Yeah, that happened. And it turns out that was the beginning of a player/team owner relationship that only got more interesting.
As ESPN's Tim McMahon detailed in a feature today, Parsons and Cuban had far from a typical association during Parsons' two-year career in Dallas. They were not only friends—they were confidants and party buddies.
Parsons had Cuban's ear, and the two frequently discussed personnel decisions. They were known to share a drink or two.
"We're boys. We're friends," Parsons told ESPN. "Yeah, he was the owner of the team, but I didn't look at him any differently [than other friends]. We did stuff. We enjoyed similar activities off the court. We were friends hanging out."
As you might expect, their closeness did cause some locker room issues that could have played a role in Parsons' eventual departure.
"As my years went on there, I think there was a huge jealousy factor of how cool I was with him, how I had some power and input in decisions that they make," Parsons said. "I think that hurt some people's feelings."
Parsons' contract came into question this year, and that changed their relationship. Suddenly, the friends had to view each other through a much more business-oriented lens. McMahon calls it "the NBA's biggest bromance gone wrong."
Cuban thought long and hard about Parsons' history of knee injuries and whether the 28-year-old was worth max contract money. Meanwhile, Parsons, who wanted to stay with his buddy in Dallas, and fully expected he would, received max offers from several teams. During this process, when the 6-foot-10 forward tried to contact his buddy, he says Cuban went radio silent.
"Throughout the whole process going into free agency, I always thought Dallas was going to be the place," Parsons said. "I thought we had a mutual understanding that I was going to be there for the whole time and I was going to retire a Mav. Obviously, the second surgery gave him a little doubt, and I believe some people got in his head about it."
In the end, Parsons settled with the Memphis Grizzlies. He is continuing to ease back into playing action on a minutes restriction after having surgery this spring.
However, his relationship with Cuban seems to be mostly back to normal. McMahon writes that Cuban is interested in bringing Parsons back to the organization someday, in some capacity—perhaps in the front office.