Houston Rockets: The curious case of Daryl Morey

Exploring the Houston Rockets situation with Daryl Morey

There is an open secret in the NBA that once the season is over, the Houston Rockets could move on from Daryl Morey as the general manager of the team. His job has been in limbo for a number of seasons now.

One big potential reason why Morey’s tweet last October in which he made waves by almost single-handedly costing the Rockets millions of dollars via the NBA’s now dilemma with its China market.

In part because of that, China continues to refuse to broadcast NBA games. It’s been estimated that the loss of revenue for the Rockets was about $20 million – and that was even before the NBA’s hiatus hit.

Even before that, though, there had been some odd moves by the Rockets. Last May, the Rockets fired all of Mike D’Antoni’s assistant coaches. Then, later in the summer, the Rockets refused to give D’Antoni an extension as the team’s head coach.

Houston then traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, which doesn’t exactly sound like an “analytics-based” move, something that usually guides Morey’s decisions. The trade is made even more baffling when you account for Westbrook’s giant contract, his tendency to dominate the ball on offense, and the fact that he’s one of the worst 3-point shooters of all-time.

Those odd moves continued well into the 2019-20 NBA season when they traded Clint Capela at the NBA Trade Deadline. Was this a Morey move? Perhaps, but it felt more like a money-saving move.

Should the Houston Rockets fire Morey now?

The big question for the Rockets is if Tilman Fertitta is going to fire Morey, why hasn’t he done so during the hiatus?

If any team is going to move on from its current general manager, this would probably be the ideal time. As team rosters are currently set for the playoffs, you can no longer make trades or add any buyout players to the roster.

Adding a new general manager could start to scout and build draft profiles for the upcoming NBA Draft. He could also start to build up a head-coaching candidates list if they decide to move on from D’Antoni as many expect them to.

The big question is if there’s even a better general manager available out there than Daryl Morey. Despite his flaws, Morey is a recent Executive of the Year award winner and has helped the Rockets make the playoffs 11 times since 2006.

Should Tilman Fertitta fire Daryl Morey, it could spell the end of the Rockets’ championship window. If, in fact, it hasn’t closed yet.