Rockets-Mavs rivalry receives a shot

A long-distance exchange of words between Chandler Parsons and James Harden is heating up the rivalry between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.

Parsons, who left Houston to sign a three-year, $46 million deal with Dallas as a restricted free agent, took offense to former teammate Harden opining that Dwight Howard and Harden are the Rockets' stars and the rest of the roster is made up of role players.

"Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets," Harden said while appearing at a charity event in the Philippines, according to The Philippine Star. "The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces.

"I think we'll be fine next season."

During an appearance on the "Jay Mohr Sports" show on Fox Sports Radio, Parsons reacted strongly when told what Harden reportedly said.

"That's a pretty ridiculous statement if he meant that," Parsons said. "That's part of the reason I wanted to go to Dallas, because I'm ready for that next step. I'm ready for a bigger role, and I'm ready for more leadership.

"If anybody should understand that, it's James, because he was in the same situation in Oklahoma City and then he got his chance to come to Houston and shine. I'm not real sure what that means."

Parsons, 25, averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game to help Houston win 54 games last season.

In Harden's third NBA season, he averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists as Oklahoma City's third option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Harden's statistics shot up to 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game in his first season after being traded to the Rockets.

This isn't the first time that Parsons has publicly acknowledged being bothered by comments coming from his former team. He was "offended" by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's opinion that the Rockets were better off not exercising the right to match the Mavs' offer for Parsons because it would have prevented Houston from having the flexibility to add the star needed to complement Harden and Howard.

"We feel strongly that turning down Chandler's option gives us a better chance to win a championship than not turning it down," Morey said on Sports Talk 790 AM in Houston the day after Parsons officially became a Maverick. "It really comes down to the question of, Harden, Howard, Chandler, what chance does that [core] have a chance of winning a championship?"