In a lengthy interview with ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Parsons touched on several aspects of Jordan's decision, which played out in a heavily covered, social media-driven saga on Wednesday leading up to Jordan putting pen to paper to remain in Los Angeles.
Parsons said he texted Jordan, who responded to him “randomly” and confirmed Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was unable to contact Jordan on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a Clippers contingent that reportedly included head coach Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick and owner Steve Ballmer descended upon his Houston home and remained there until Jordan officially signed his contract.
“He’s complacent in L.A., and I think that was a safer bet than for him to make a big decision and branch off and go do his own thing," Parsons told ESPN. "He was probably nervous. He was probably scared. I don’t know because I haven’t talked to him. He’s a good dude. I don’t think he’s a bad person for this. I think he’s just confused. This decision was just way too big for him and he wasn’t ready to be a franchise player.”
Parsons, who was a key recruiter in the process for Dallas, admitted to having called Jordan daily even after he committed to joining the Mavericks. He told ESPN that Cuban called him Monday to tell him he thought Jordan had “cold feet.” Parsons called Jordan's last-minute reversal “unethical and disrespectful” and said Dallas did everything it could to keep him.
“It’s a lot of pressure. Maybe he got nerves about being a franchise player and having the pressure of leading a team," Parsons said. “He’s very comfortable in L.A. He can play behind Chris Paul, play behind Blake Griffin. That’s what I thought he didn’t want. Throughout the process, that’s what he told me he didn’t want. He wanted to take the next step in his career. He wanted to be the man on his team and build something special.”
When asked about where the Mavericks go next, Parsons said the ramifications for Dallas, which had structured its off-season moves around the expected signing accordingly, were the “worst part,” admitting the entire franchise has been placed in jeopardy. Parsons, who became close with Jordan over the past few weeks, said it wasn't personal, but remained highly critical as he defended Cuban's efforts.
“He wasn’t ready for being a franchise player," Parsons told ESPN. “He was scared. 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.”
You can read the full interview here.
- Jeremy Woo