It’s the first time during the Mark Cuban era that the Mavs have made a big splash in free agency by signing an impact starter whose career is on the rise. The 6-foot-9 Parsons’ shooting, passing and ballhandling skills make him a beautiful fit for Rick Carlisle’s flow offense, a phenomenal complement to the brilliance of aging All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and the dynamic driving ability of Monta Ellis.
It also almost certainly marks the end of Shawn Marion’s tenure with the Mavs, not to set a somber tone while the party is just getting started.
There was mutual interest in Marion’s return to the Mavs, but the front office clearly envisioned a drastically reduced role and salary for the 15-year veteran who spent the past five seasons in Dallas. At this point, the most the Mavs could possibly offer Marion is the $2.7 million cap-room exception to be a reserve. He shouldn’t have a problem finding a contender willing to offer him more money for a similar role, if not a starting job.
Marion’s All-Star days were in the past when he arrived in Dallas in the summer of 2009 as the centerpiece of a complicated, four-team sign-and-trade deal his agent played a large role in piecing together. He transitioned into being a tremendous role player for the Mavs, a consummate professional who did a lot of dirty work while consistently scoring in double figures despite hardly ever having a play called for him.
“The Matrix” was at his best when the Mavs needed him most, playing a massive role in the franchise’s 2011 title run. His stats from those playoffs (11.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game) don’t begin to describe how much he meant to that title run. That championship banner isn’t hanging from the American Airlines Center rafters if not for the defense Marion played on Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
That alone is enough reason for Marion’s No. 0 to hang from those same rafters someday.
The Mavs are ready to move on from the 36-year-old Marion, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The signing of Parsons, 25, provides Dallas a much better offensive weapon and a player who could develop into a star.
Parsons certainly has a chance to go down as the best free-agent acquisition in Mavs history. However, he’s going to have to make a huge impact during his Dallas tenure to bump Marion down a spot on that list.