The Houston Rockets are cleaning house. Mike D’Antoni won’t return as head coach and neither will Daryl Morey. A new report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN indicates that Morey will step down as the Rockets GM. Houston’s brass clearly was unhappy with the Rockets playoff run in Orlando and will go in a new direction.
“Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is stepping down, sources told ESPN.
In the aftermath of Houston’s elimination from the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Florida, Morey approached owner Tilman Fertitta with the idea of leaving the job and the sides quietly worked through an exit agreement to conclude his 13 seasons running the franchise’s basketball operations, sources said.
Morey isn’t ruling out a future return to the NBA on the team side, but he has become increasingly determined to explore what else might interest him professionally, sources said. Morey also saw an opportunity to spend time with two college-age children who are each taking a gap year academically during the coronavirus pandemic.
Morey will remain in an advisory role for a short period to assist in the Rockets’ completion of their head-coaching search, sources said.”
Woj later adds that vice president of basketball operations Rafael Stone will be promoted to take Morey’s former position. Eli Witus will also be promoted to assistant GM.
The head coach part remains unclear, but now Stone is tasked with picking the next guy. Tyrone Lue is one of many candidates interviewing for the job. Former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy is another interviewing for the position.
Morey has led the Rockets to eight straight playoff appearances. Morey was under an intense microscope in Houston after he tweeted supporting freedom in Hong Kong. China began pulling the NBA off TV and created a rocky relationship with the league.
Will we see Morey again in the NBA? It sounds like Morey could easily pursue other passions outside of basketball.