After two injury-shortened seasons, Chandler Parsons mulls decision to enter free agency

DALLAS — Entering the 2015-16 campaign with concerns about his right knee after undergoing a hybrid microfracture surgery last offseason, Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons again will admittedly face another uphill climb this summer following a second straight injury-shortened season.

Last season, the 6-foot-10 Parsons hoped to make the most of his first campaign with the Mavericks after signing a reported three-year deal worth $46 million to join the team following three previous seasons with the rival Houston Rockets. However, after being plagued by nagging injuries throughout the grueling 82-game schedule, Parsons found his ’14-15 season cut short after Game 1 of the Mavs’ first-round playoff series against Houston while requiring surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee.

Playing in only 66 games last season while averaging 15.7 points, 4.9 rebound and 2.4 assists, the versatile forward was still rehabbing from the injury entering the ’15-16 schedule. He then made his season debut with two points, three rebounds and three assists in 12 minutes of action during a 103-93 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 1. Parsons battled his way back to 100 percent from there, overcoming minute restrictions to start the season in the process. But after playing some of his basketball later in the year, Parsons was again forced to miss the team’s first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City following arthroscopic surgery on March 25 to address an injury to his right medial meniscus.

“It’s devastating,” Parsons admitted after watching in street clothes as the Mavs eventually fell to a first-round exit in five games to the Thunder. “You know, last year was something extremely difficult that I had to go through that I’ve never really went through, and now this year I was finally starting to feel like myself again, playing great and winning some games. And then, you know, it’s something different but the same type of injury. It’s just frustrating to not be able to play with these guys and to see us struggle. To see us lose like this in the first round, you can’t help but think, ‘What could I do if I were playing? How would I help?’ You just feel bad for the guys, ’cause it’s bad timing for us to go through all the injuries that we went through this year. But at the same time, you’ve got to be extremely happy for the way they competed and the way they fought. They didn’t give up at all, they didn’t back down from anybody, and they made it an interesting series, for sure. But the most difficult part is, for the second year in a row, to not being able to play for my team when it counts.”

The 27-year-old Parsons played in 61 games for the Mavs this season, making 51 starts and averaging 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He also seemed to be playing the best basketball of the his young career during the last 30 games he saw action in before the surgery, averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 34.3 minutes while connecting on 52 percent from the floor and 47.5 percent from three-point range during that span.

He now could test the free-agency waters should he choose to opt out of the final year of his contract to hit the open market. But with plans of speaking with Mavs owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, the former Florida standout says he hopes to work out his contract situation quickly in order to recruit more top-level talent to Dallas.

“I mean, obviously, now that the season’s over, my No. 1 concern right now is to get my knee at 100 percent and focus on my health, to make sure I can get through a full season next year and play the best basketball of my career for 82 games next year and into the playoffs. That’s my No. 1 priority, and now that this season’s over is when I’ll start talking to my agent and looking at other options. I’m sure I’ll be talking to Mark and Donnie a lot about my future here in Dallas. The season obviously ended a lot shorter than we would have liked, but now I guess I’ll take some time off and start talking and thinking about free agency,” Parsons explained.

He added: “Obviously, it’s tough to recruit if I don’t know where I’m going. You know, in the back of my head, Dallas is home to me. I loved it here, and I came here to be a great player and to win a lot of games. You know, I’ve yet to do that here, so I feel like I’ve got a lot of unfinished business here I’d love to continue and grow into the player that I saw myself being here. So, the quicker we can get that done, it allows me to start recruiting and doing that whole thing.”

Showing promise during his first two seasons with the Mavericks, Parsons hopes to continue to grow as a player in a Dallas uniform. That’s a hope the Mavs’ front office shares, according to Nelson, as negotiations figure to get underway in the very near future.

Prior to his last two injury-riddled years, Parsons proved to be durable while playing in 76 and 74 games during the previous two seasons, respectively. He now hopes to recapture that health entering next season, vowing to come back stronger and better than he’s ever been. Still, Nelson says the Mavericks will take a cautious approach into negotiations this summer while attempting to lure Parsons back.

“Certainly, he’s a young player in his prime with upside, but those are conversations that I think we’ll have at the right time,” Nelson said when asked about Parsons’ future in Dallas. “He’s been a big part of the fabric that we’ve built here. But again, it’s a question of how many dollars and injury status and things like that. So, I think we just need to sit down, get past an emotional moment and have those conversations in due process.

“It’s part of the discussions. You know, there are issues and there is a situation there. It’s not that it’s unmanageable, but it’s just that it affects things. … Again, we’ll have those conversations at the right time, but we’d certainly like to have Parsons continue his stint with the Mavericks. He’s a young player with upside, is getting better and works great in our system, so we’ll look forward to those conversations at the right time.”

Chandler Parsons’ minutes at power forward give Mavs added dimension

OAKLAND, Calif. — He showcased plenty of versatility during his first season with the Dallas Mavericks after signing with the team in free agency during the summer of 2014. Now, small forward Chandler Parsons may be displaying even more flexibiity during his second campaign with the team.

Battling his way back from a hybrid microfracture surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee on May 1, Parsons has been on a tear of late while seeing his fair share of offensive success. That trend continued Wednesday night as the 6-foot-10 forward scored 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds during a 127-107 loss to the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the final outing of a three-game road trip. And while taking on a heavier workload as the Mavericks’ starting small forward and primary backup to power forward Dirk Nowitzki, Parsons showed why his versatility figures to give the Mavericks (26-22) a boost throughout the course of the season.

“Just trying to string a couple together,” a modest Parsons said of his recent personal success. “I’m shooting the ball at a very high level of confidence right now, so from that point it’s a positive.”

Parsons averaged 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 33.1 minutes per outing for the Mavs last season, battling through several nagging injuries to appear in 66 games. He then sustained the knee injury that later required surgery during Game 1 of the Mavericks’ first-round playoff series against his former team, the Houston Rockets, leading to his delayed season debut on Nov. 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The former Florida standout then admittedly got off to a sluggish start to the season, averaging just 8.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists during the month of November. However, Parsons seems to have worked his way back to his old form in the last six games, posting averages of 23.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists during that span. And while playing both forward positions, Parsons has earned the praise of Mavs coach Rick Carlisle.

“He’s been aggressive, continuing to get a rhythm out there. There’s a lot of things on this trip that he can build on, for sure. And the fact that he’s bouncing back and forth between three and four is a dimension that really helps our team,” Carlisle said while highlighting Parsons’ versatility.

Assuming the primary backup minutes behind Nowitzki recently, Parsons has shown an ability to exploit his head-to-head matchups against bigger players. He’s also used his ballhandling abilities to his advantage, initiating the Dallas offense at times.

Parsons has become one of the Mavericks’ top rebounders in recent games as well, scoring 17 points and pulling down a team-high nine boards Tuesday night during the team’s last-second 92-90 win over the Lakers. Carlisle then opted to slide Parsons up in place of a resting Nowitzki during Wednesday’s contest, acknowledging the added dimension that the 27-year-old’s minutes at power forward give the team.

“It just creates mismatches,” Parsons said while highlighting the benefits of his move to power forward. “You know, I can bang down there and play with bigger guys. And offensively, there’s not very many fours that can guard me out there, so I think it gives us a different look. It just puts a heavier load on our guards to get in there and rebound and block out, and that’s been a big struggle for us.”

“Well, he likes it. He’s running around out there with bigger guys trying to chase him, so it’s been good,” Carlisle added. “You know, it’s challenging from the standpoint that now he’s guarding guys that are bigger and now he’s got a bigger rebounding responsibility, but he did a great job (Tuesday night). He was our leading rebounder with nine, so he’s doing a lot of good things. And I think it also speaks to his flexibility as a player that he can go from three to four, and he can be a point power forward at times ’cause he handles the ball so well.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return home Friday night, hosting the Brooklyn Nets. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after a 119-118 overtime road win on Dec. 23. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:

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Zaza Pachulia (right lower leg soreness) — day-to-day

Devin Harris (left great toe sprain) — day-to-day

With Dirk Nowitzki sidelined, Chandler Parsons comes to Mavs’ rescue

DALLAS — With 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki scratched from the lineup Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves due to a right knee effusion, the Dallas Mavericks saw the reemergence of one of their budding stars at just the right time.

Pushed into overtime for an NBA-record fourth straight home game, the Mavericks admittedly could have used their leading scorer and the face of the franchise as Nowitzki watched in street clothes. However, the Mavericks (25-19) didn’t skip a beat without the league’s No. 6 all-time scorer in the lineup, leaning on versatile forward Chandler Parsons’ season-high 30 points and eight rebounds to carry them to the win. And with both Nowitzki and veteran guard Raymond Felton (left eye injury) unavailable for Wednesday’s matchup, the 6-foot-10 Parsons says he was comfortable putting the Mavs on his back in order to move to 2-0 on their current three-game homestand.

“With Dirk and Raymond out, those are two guys that provide a lot of offense for us and two big holes to fill, so I definitely wanted to be aggressive with the understanding of not forcing it or taking bad shots,” Parsons explained following Wednesday’s win. “You know, definitely be involved from the get-go. And I thought teammates did a great job of getting me open looks and getting me in the right spots, so I could get to the rim early. And I just made some shots.”

Parsons certainly showcased his ability to make shots, hitting 13 of 20 from the field to lead six scorers in double figures. He also continued his recent hot shooting from behind the three-point arc, connecting on 3 of 6 from long range as the Mavericks rallied from a 10-point deficit with 6:46 remaining in regulation.

And after the Mavs completed their epic comeback by outlasting the Timberwolves in overtime, Parsons praised the play of his teammates as Dallas collected its 10th win of the season when trailing by at least 10 points.

“We’re just a composed, experienced and veteran team. You know, a lot of us have played a lot of games in the league, and we never get too high or too low in a game. We never have doubts, so I think that has a lot to do with it. And we have a lot of guys that hate losing and are never going to give up, which is a huge sign,” Parsons proclaimed. “In the [Western Conference], there’s going to be a lot of close games. There’s going to be a lot of nights like this, so it’s definitely a positive thing that we have the maturity level to pull games out like this.”

Coming back after a hybrid microfracture surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee on May 1, Parsons has seen a spike in his numbers in the month of January.

Assuming a reserve role earlier in the season, Parsons has averaged 10.3 points in 36 appearances, pulling down 3.9 rebounds and dishing out 2.4 assists an outing. He’s also shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three-point range for the season. Vice versa, Parsons has averaged 12.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in January, shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from behind the three-point arc in that span. Those numbers figure to continue surging upward as he gains strength and confidence in his knee.

And after spending extra time alongside Nowitzki refining his shooting form, Parsons believes he’s starting to see the fruits of his labor.

“Even on off days we come in, and I wouldn’t want to work with anybody else in the league ever,” Parsons said of his brotherly bond with Nowitzki. “It’s a resource I’ve had for over a year now, and I’m just now starting to take advantage of it. And he’s been great. Just little pointers and nothing too drastic. And a lot of (trash) talking. Pretty much that’s it.

“I mean, my knee is what it is. It’s going to continue to keep getting better. Just ’cause I had a good game like (Wednesday) doesn’t mean my knee is magically 100 percent. It’s not going to be probably all season long. But as long as I can manage it and continue to get stronger and better and keep playing confidently, I can play at a high level.”

Last season, Parsons battled nagging injuries to play in 66 games during his first campaign with the Mavs, averaging 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 33.1 minutes per outing. He then had his season cut short after Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against his former team, the Houston Rockets, due to his injured right knee.

With that said, Parsons showed glimpses of his old self during Wednesday’s breakthrough performance. And according to Nowitzki, much more personal success will head Parsons’ way as he continues to put in work during his downtime.

“He was fantastic. He actually told me that I’m holding him back, so I might have to sit out a couple more,” Nowitzki joked. “But he was great. Actually, shooting-wise, the last few weeks he’s been getting in a groove and getting the ball up. He’s taking his time, and now he’s shooting it better. Guys have to come up on him a little more and have to go for his pump fake, and that opens up his drives. And the last week or two he’s been taking it to the basket and finishing, so he’s been in a great groove.

“Sometimes, it’s just a matter of being in a good groove. You know, we all sometimes have it where you feel great for two or three weeks, and you feel like you can’t miss. And then you go through some weeks where you just can’t buy one, and those are the weeks you’ve just got to keep fighting through it. But right now, he’s looking great, he’s looking confident and he’s making shots for us.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their three-game homestand on Friday night, hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City leads the season series 2-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

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Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:

Raymond Felton (left eye injury) — probable

Dirk Nowitzki (right knee effusion) — questionable

Mavs’ perimeter duo of Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons showcase their versatility in win over Milwaukee

Postgame: Chandler Parsons

Mavs F Chandler Parsons dishes on Monday's win over the Bucks, his rapport with Wesley Matthews and more.

DALLAS — They were two of the offensive catalysts for the Dallas Mavericks during the team’s 103-93 win at home Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. But according to swingman Wesley Matthews and small forward Chandler Parsons, they’re just beginning to scratch the surface of how effective they can be when in the lineup together.

Rejoining the first unit after accepting a reserve role while working his way back from a hybrid microfracture surgery on his right knee this offseason, Parsons lined up alongside Matthews on the opposite wing to finish with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists in the win. Meanwhile, Matthews showed no signs of the torn left Achilles tendon that ended his 2014-15 season after only 60 games with Portland, leading four Mavericks in double figures with 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting and hitting 5 of 7 from three-point range.

And although the two expect more production this season after forming a bond during their rehabilitation processes this summer, both admit that Monday night was a step in the right direction.

“You know, it’s a great combination with what he does and what I do,” Parsons proclaimed following the Mavericks’ third straight win. “We can really play off of each other with the way he posts up and the way I cut. You know, he’s an unbelievable defender and I can play make, especially playing off of each other. He’s an extremely hard worker, and just going through both the surgeries and rehabs we went through this summer was cool to have someone to go through that with. Him going through the Achilles rehab and me going through the knee rehab, you know, it’s been a long time coming. And we’re finally starting to feel like we’re getting back to ourselves and getting to where we should be.”

“I think it’s more exciting that we’re not anywhere close to what we can be as a tandem and as a duo, but I think we have flashes of it,” Matthews added. “We’re nowhere near it, but we’re on that path, and it’s going to be scary when it happens.”

Last season, Parsons played in 66 games during his first campaign with the Mavericks (18-13), averaging 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 33.1 minutes per outing. He then had his season cut short after Game 1 of the Mavs’ first-round playoff series against his former team, the Houston Rockets, suffering cartilage damage in his right knee that required surgery on May 1.

Meanwhile, Matthews suffered his season-ending injury against the Mavericks on March 5, finishing the ’14-15 campaign averaging 15.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals while connecting on 44.8 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from behind the three-point arc. And after both Matthews and Parsons vowed to return from their respective injuries better than they were before, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says Monday’s outing was just a glimpse of what’s to come.

Postgame: Wesley Matthews

Mavs SG Wesley Matthews weighs in on his game-high 22-point performance in Monday's win over Milwaukee.

“We are getting there, but I don’t think there is any magic date. When you go through injuries like those two guys did, I think it is an ongoing challenge to continue to build it up. Both of these guys stated very clearly when their injuries happened that their goal was not only to be back, but to be back better than they were before. And to do that, it is going to be a long-term proposition,” Carlisle explained. “I think that both of these guys understand that. Parsons has gained a lot of respect for what it is like to go through something like this. He has never had an injury like this with the process involved and the mental challenges along with all of the physical aspects. Wes is going through the same thing. They both were serious injuries requiring surgery, but they were different in nature. They are both doing well, and they will do better and better as the season goes on.”

Parsons has slowly began to hit his stride while having his minutes restriction lifted over the last week, averaging 9.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists on the season in 24 games. Matthews has also shown glimpses of his old self, posting 12.9 points a contest and connecting on 36.1 percent from three-point range while starting all 29 of his appearances this season.

And while both say they feel great physically, the duo also acknowledges that it’s still an uphill climb to become the players that they hope to be by season’s end.

“I feel better,” Matthews said. “I feel good. Every week I get stronger, and every day we are doing something to make my body stronger. Not even just the Achilles, but everything else. I’m making sure we are doing all the right things, and I feel good.”

“It’s a long process, man. It’s an ongoing process, too. A couple of good games this week doesn’t mean I’m a finished product,” Parsons added. “I definitely feel good. Playing 37 minutes (against Milwaukee) is an awesome sign, and hopefully when I wake up I’ll feel great. My knee feels perfect, and I’m not thinking about it. I’m playing confident, playmaking and defending, and it’s all good.”

Note: The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Wednesday night, hosting the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

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Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:

Deron Williams (left hamstring strain) – questionable

Mavs know others will have to step up until Chandler Parsons’ restrictions are lifted

DALLAS — While the Dallas Mavericks saw gradual progress from starting small forward Chandler Parsons in his second game action since undergoing a hybrid microfracture surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee on May 1, his absence was noticeable late during the team’s 102-91 loss at home Tuesday night to the Toronto Raptors.

The 6-foot-10 Parsons made his season debut on Sunday with two points on 1-of-6 shooting, grabbing three rebounds and dishing out three assists during nearly 12 minutes of playing time in the first half of the Mavericks’ 103-93 win on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers. He followed that up with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting in 14 minutes of work during Tuesday night’s loss, watching helplessly in the second half as the Mavericks (2-2) couldn’t keep the Raptors (4-0) from staying unbeaten at the Dallas team’s expense.

And although Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was encouraged by Parsons’ progress, the team will continue to manage the versatile forward’s minutes as he works his way back into the fold.

“He’s doing well,” Carlisle said while grading Parsons’ contributions during Tuesday’s outing. “And we certainly could have used him in the second half, but that’s just not in the cards, so we’re going to keep going along like this for a while. You know, he’s working hard, and we’ve just got to keep going.”

With Parsons on the floor during the first half, the Mavericks were still outshot by the Raptors through two quarters, 43.5 percent to 40.9 percent. Toronto also held a 25-24 rebounding edge in the half, despite seeing the Mavs take a 51-49 edge into the intermission.

The Mavericks were then outscored 53-40 in the final two quarters with Parsons watching from the bench, shooting just 35.7 percent from the field in the second half. And after watching from the sideline, Parsons admits that he hopes to see an increase in his playing time going forward.

“I felt good, and my knee felt fine. I got it going there a little bit early. And the more I play, the more comfortable I’ll be,” Parsons said following his second game action this season. “It’s just going to be frustrating. You know, how ever long they have me on this minute restriction, watching in the second half of these close games when I could be in there helping is the most frustrating point. Just sitting there helpless, watching my team struggle in fourth quarter, I feel like I should be out there. I want to be out there so bad, but that’s going to be the toughest part for me, to be patient and understand it’s what’s best. And I’ve got to find a way to adjust to that, ’cause it’s brutal.

“I’d almost rather just play the second half, when it matters to close the game, but a team develops their rhythm and everything in the first half. You can’t just throw a guy out there in the second half and change what you were doing, so it’s difficult. I’ve never been in this situation before, and I also don’t want to just play four minutes every quarter and not be able to do anything — get a rhythm and get going. You know, I’ve got to find a way to be playing in the fourth quarter, really.”

The Mavericks admittedly could have used Parsons’ services during the fourth quarter, going just 6 of 22 from the field with four turnovers in the period. However, after surrendering a 12-0 run at the midway mark of the fourth, the Mavs also acknowledge that they’ve got to be better defensively down the stretch even without Parsons in the lineup.

Using a three-pointer by 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki at the 6:37 mark of the fourth, the Mavericks took a four-point lead at 86-82. Toronto then finished the game on a 20-5 run, cruising to the win in the final moments with scores to keep the Mavericks at bay.

With that said, the Mavs know they’ll have to find a way to lock in defensively until they have Parsons for a full four quarters.

“Everybody has got to do their job, and it’s on the defensive end,” Mavs swingman Wesley Matthews explained. “You know, we want to get out and scrambling, we want to get in our rotations, we want to finish plays with rebounds, and then we can get out and run. You know, the more we can play against a transition defense, that’s going to benefit us. Obviously, we have to hold the fort down and we have to find creative ways to win. Everybody’s got to step their game up. I’m on a minute restriction, so I’ve got to deal with that. Chandler is obviously on his, but we’ve still got a job to do, and that’s win games.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Thursday night for the second outing of their three-game homestand, hosting the Charlotte Hornets. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

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JaVale McGee (left tibial stress fracture) — out