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Why did Daryl Morey step down as Rockets GM now? We asked him and Tilman Fertitta

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by DaneB, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. DaneB

    DaneB Member

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  2. Jontro

    Jontro Member

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    don't trust anything tillmen has to say.
     
  3. BHannes2BHonest

    BHannes2BHonest Contributing Member

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    Daryl Morey said his mind had been made up for a month.

    The Rockets general manager who came to Houston from Boston in 2006, whose blockbuster trade for James Harden in 2012 was one of the all-time best moves in any era and whose analytics-driven philosophies would change the way the game is played, returned from another playoff failure after they fell short against the Lakers inside the Orlando bubble and decided he was done. Nevermind that the news didn’t come out until 30 days later — one day after the emotionally-charged departure of former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni that officially took place on the plane ride back from the bubble — or that the Rockets have been conducting a coaching search for the past month looking for D’Antoni’s replacement.

    In an interview with The Athletic on Thursday night, Morey and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta discussed the unorthodox way this massive move went down. For Morey’s part, he cited family reasons as the main inspiration behind the move and said the D’Antoni departure that was known to disappoint him did not play a part in his decision.

    “That didn’t affect my decision, um, at all,” Morey said.

    With Morey out, the Rockets are elevating assistant general manager and team counsel Rafael Stone to the general manager role.

    “Yea it’s been great, it’s been collaborative,” Morey said. “We’ve been up front with all the candidates that this was coming and they’ve been respectful to not have it get out early. It’s been baked in.”

    Yet according to two of the Rockets coaching candidates, it wasn’t quite that clear that Morey was on his way out. There were signs of something being amiss, the candidates said, among them the fact that Morey wasn’t leading the process. But they said there was no direct message that Morey was about to step down.

    Typically during a Rockets offseason, particularly during the early stages, there would be a series of staff meetings regarding objectives like player scouting and the upcoming draft — two aspects of the job Morey is quite fond of as a general manager. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, these meetings had pivoted to ZOOM, the popular video conference service, but there had been a reduction in these meetings over the past few weeks, an indication that something was off.

    “As Daryl said, every single coach that we’ve brought in has been told that Daryl will most likely not be here next season,” Fertitta added. “And not one coach said ‘I’m not coming in.’ So it hasn’t been an issue. They’ve interviewed with our basketball ops. Daryl was a great leader, but everybody has seen our (front office) bench, and knows that there’s a lot of talent in our basketball ops, and Tad (Brown) is here. It just hasn’t been an issue whatsoever.”

    No matter how it went down, with Morey planning on stepping away at the end of the month, the process now continues without him in the long-term plans.

    Prior to the coaching search, Fertitta had said that Morey would have a large influence in picking the next Rockets head coach, but The Athletic has learned that Morey’s role in the coaching search had diminished over the past few weeks and he had been operating essentially as a consultant. The Rockets have interviewed Jeff Van Gundy, Ty Lue, Kenny Atkinson, Stephen Silas, David Vanterpool, Wes Unseld Jr., and John Lucas so far.

    Earlier today, Van Gundy met with Houston for the second time as their process moves along. ESPN reported that Mavericks assistant coach Stephen Silas will also have a second interview. John Lucas is also thought of to be a serious candidate with his understanding of the roster from top to bottom, his ability to connect with each player differently, a firm grasp of the system Houston employs, and a vast amount of experience.

    Typically, the Rockets front office has operated as a joint venture, with Morey, Stone, Eli Witus, and Monte McNair (now with Sacramento) offering individual input along with ownership before arriving at a decision. So far, however, it’s been Stone — and not Morey — running point during the interview process.

    “Rafael has been leading the process and Tilman, Tad, and Patrick have been involved,” Morey added. “It’s been a great process. The Rockets have a great history before me of hiring great coaches and that’ll continue going forward.”

    For Morey, stepping away from the team will allow him to shift focus towards his family and personal life. The 2019-20 season was an extremely long and taxing season for the NBA but especially for Morey personally — stemming from the tweet sent last October supporting freedom for Hong Kong, the ensuing backlash, and death threats from China, and being thrown under the bus by prominent members of the league.

    The Rockets lost millions in sponsorships and streaming privileges from Chinese broadcasting services Tencent and CCTV, as well as an on-court sponsor. With the way in which those events played out one after another and considering the hundreds of millions of dollars in league revenue the NBA estimated in losses, obvious questions have been raised about whether it played a part in Morey’s decision to walk away. Speaking to the New York Times, Fertitta refused to answer questions concerning the China fallout but said there was no connection between those events and Morey’s departure.

    “We’ve never had a cross word over it (Morey’s tweet),” Fertitta told the newspaper.

    The four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing bubble experience also may have played a part. Houston slugged through a first-round fistfight with the Oklahoma City Thunder only to fizzle out against the eventual champion Lakers, losing four games in a row. With the team facing bitter defeat for the fourth time in a row, the team likely headed for an offseason with little to no wiggle room, an aging roster, and an increasingly difficult league with rising contenders, perhaps Morey felt it was best to step away from the game and focus his energy on his loved ones.

    “Yeah, it was real personal,” Morey said. “‘Obviously (the bubble was) intense for all of us. It’s been a great 14-year run just tied in with my family, (but) my youngest just graduated from high school and is on a gap year, my daughter’s on a gap year — the pandemic gap year. It just felt like the right time and the Rockets are in great hands with Rafael Stone and they’re going to make a great coaching hire that I’ve been helping with and I think it’s going to be great going forward. …Yeah, I left Orlando after we had the tough loss to the Lakers, talked to my family and then I told Tilman.”

    Fertitta said Morey relayed the word the day after the Rockets left the bubble, meaning Sept. 14.

    “The day after. I mean he just said, ‘You know, I’m kind of just struggling and don’t know what I want to do,’” Fertitta said. “To tell y’all, when we signed Daryl’s last extension, Daryl told me, ‘You know, I’m not going to always be here (and) when my last son graduates (he might leave).’

    “I was surprised, (but) I wasn’t surprised. He always told me he kind of wanted to go back East one day. Does that mean he moves back East? I don’t know. But Daryl and I have always been very upfront with each other, and – you know – where I was surprised I wasn’t surprised. I knew that when his last child graduated from home, and there was that time, that something could always happen.”

    Morey remains firm that his proudest moment in the 13 years at the helm was the 2018 Western Conference Finals, but it might have also been his most bitter. The Rockets held a 3-2 series lead against the defending champion Golden State Warriors before losing Chris Paul to a hamstring injury and losing Games 6 and 7. Since that painful exit, the past two seasons have been about getting back to that pinnacle, the toast of the NBA world, and heir to the throne, but the Rockets have failed both times.

    “Yeah, I mean it for sure was the year that we almost won the title two years ago,” Morey said. That’s the ultimate prize, and I thought it was our year and it probably should have been, but you know they make you win four out of seven and we didn’t get it done.”

    For the newly appointed Stone, the immediate future will have the continuation of the head coaching search. Such a switch in the front office naturally comes as a shock. One Rockets player said in a text to The Athletic“This came out of nowhere for me,” but ownership maintains that the foundation of the team — Harden, and Westbrook — has been in regular contact and is anticipating another challenge in the upcoming 2020-21 season.

    “You know, my conversations with them are private, and they’re looking forward to next season,” Fertitta said.
     
  4. BHannes2BHonest

    BHannes2BHonest Contributing Member

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    “Rafael has been leading the process and Tilman, Tad, and Patrick have been involved,” Morey added.


    Future GM Patrick Titta. :rolleyes:
     
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  5. topfive

    topfive CF OG
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    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Corrosion

    Corrosion Member

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    I said last year that if I were Morey , I'd walk away from this mess ....

    All the cost cutting moves that were made from letting Ariza walk , dumping Anderson's contract for nothing , giving away good players & picks in the process and not using the MLE in back to back years .... there's a long list of those.

    I wouldn't want to work for a guy who destroyed all that and left me with little to no resources to continue to improve.

    <Insert Luxury Tax Jersey Here>

    Ferntits Sucks.

    We're gonna miss Morey.
     
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  7. JW86

    JW86 Member

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    Good for Daryl, glad he got out. I’m 100% sure Fertitta straight up told Morey he doesn’t know **** and needs Daryl. Also Fertitta is definitely part of him leaving. Awful to think this owner is basically like Trump and all these billionaires who take their son on and give them high quality jobs. We are seriously in a bad position and it might be the last few seasons in our lifetime where the Rockets are somewhat significant. If snot nose Patrick becomes assistant GM or GM, then I’m done with following the Rockets. Signing Lucas and playing the exact same way as under MDA will already cause me to not follow this circus closely anymore, so it’s probably ****ed regardless.
     
  8. Zboy

    Zboy Contributing Member

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    Morey aint stoopid.

    He knows this team is not going anywhere under Tilman.

    Morey's reputation will be tarnished by staying on a sinking ship.

    Being a smart man, he bailed.

    Of course he is not going to say thats why he is leaving.

    You think he would leave if this team was a legit contender? get real...
     
  9. cerophilik

    cerophilik Member

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  10. lloyde8

    lloyde8 Contributing Member

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  11. lloyde8

    lloyde8 Contributing Member

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  12. tycoonchip

    tycoonchip Tilman has Aids!
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    Morey wants jvg? Y?
     
  13. Caprah

    Caprah Member

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    Fuming disgusting
     
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  14. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member
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    "source" = the Athletic article.
     
  15. treyk3

    treyk3 Contributing Member

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    He posted this prior to the article being posted.

    I hope he's wrong here though because he's said John Lucas has been Harden and Westbrook's choice for a few weeks.

    Silas and JVG would both be okay in their own way. John Lucas is a move to appeal to the stars, it will backfire and they will both want out and we'll be stuck with another coach search in 2021.
     
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  16. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member
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    Source = the other articles all saying the same thing
     
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  17. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    I'd ask him if he wants to produce another musical. put a smile on the man's face. @Batman Jones -- hope your friendship continues if he moves

    Patitta
     
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  18. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos PAT 4 LYFE
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    Articles like thsi are what you should say when something goes down. Everybody with half a brain knows it’s because Fern tits is a pos
     
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  19. K-Low_4_Prez

    K-Low_4_Prez Member

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    This is bull everyone knows Morey didnt want JVG he aint that dumb.
     
  20. treyk3

    treyk3 Contributing Member

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    You are completely wrong. I don’t think it’s why he quit but Morey has wanted JVG back from the day he left. They are very close friends and have a great relationship. Morey wanted him in 2016 and wanted him this year. You have to stop speaking on things you don’t have knowledge on as if it’s fact.
     
    YOLO likes this.

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