I have no idea whether or not Chandler Parsons will sign with the Dallas Mavericks or the Houston Rockets this evening. However, I can tell you that no matter what happens, it will provide some much needed fuel to the interstate rivalry between Clutch City and Big D.
While this past season provided some very memorable performances, most notably a 18 point comeback on November 20th, 2013 led by 30+ point performances by Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, there has been a lull in the the rivalry ever since Tracy McGrady and Dirk were going shot-for-shot and Yao Ming was dominating whichever spare center Cuban decided over pay.
On the court, I-45 rivalry hasn’t seen much drama lately. Currently, hate for the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder can be found in the deepest and darkest corners of our hearts, with Houston coming in at a distant third. While regular season wins and losses always play for good banter at the water cooler or over some healthy trash talk at your local watering hole, everybody knows what happens in the playoffs matters most.
Unfortunately for these two fan bases they have not squared off in the playoffs since 2005. While it was one of the most entertaining series in Mavs history, since then they have appeared in two Finals, won one championship, played Spurs in four series, played the Thunder in two series and have only missed the playoffs once in 13 years.
On the other hand the Rockets haven’t made it out of the opening round since 2009 when they surprisingly took the Lakers to the wire. They also failed to make the playoffs for the next three years and finally broke back into the mix once the signed James Harden.
Off the court, tension has slowly been building over the past two years between the team’s front offices. You can trace it back to the Dwight Howard saga in the summer of 2013. Promptly after the Rockets landed Howard, general manager Daryl Morey sent a text over to Mark Cuban inquiring about trading Dirk. Cuban took this as pouring a some salt on the wound left behind by Howard. Morey said the text was sent when he thought the Rockets whiffed on signing Howard. Sure…but I guess we will really never know.
Dirk had already stated before the 2013 season began that he would be willing to take a pay-cut to remain a Maverick. This didn’t stop Morey once again from butting his head into matters. Just days ago, and probably right after they learned that they were not going to be signing Chris Bosh, the Rockets sent a max offer to Dirk. Luckily there is no way Dirk is going anywhere, so Mavs fans can ignore this front.
Another incident between the team’s suits also occurred during the 2013 preseason. The Mavs signed former rockets assistant GM Gersson Rosas to be the Mavs General Manager. His tenure lasted three months and he resigned the night before the season opener. The Rockets took him back later that year. Sabotage? Most likely not, there wasn’t enough time for him to do any damage and his public statement seemed as genuine as GM’s can be.
Rivalries only thrive when the fan bases, teams, and offices have some hodgepodge of off and on the court beef. After a decade of arguably meaningless regular season games between the Mavs and Rockets, it looks like the two camps are bound to collide at some point very soon. Cuban agrees.
“They were bad for so long, it wasn’t really there, other than that one playoff year,” Cuban said of a rivalry with the Rockets. “But now they’ve got good people. I think there’s more of a rivalry building.”
No matter where Parsons signs in the next 24 hours, it will provide some much needed fuel to the fire. Hating on the Spurs for close to two decades is getting emotionally draining and old. You can only make fun of the city and women of San Antonio so many times. Mavs fans are ready to move on and resent another team.