Daryl Morey stepped down yesterday as Rockets general manager (GM). In honor of Morey stepping away, let’s look at some of his worst moves as Rockets GM.
Morey’s best move at the helm was acquiring James Harden, but don’t be fooled; he made some terrible decisions as well.
#5 Daryl Morey Acquiring Dwight Howard in 2013
Among many other GM’s, Morey was hard pressing to get Howard after his first stint with the Lakers. However, for other teams, they should be glad the Rockets got him.
Howard was a headcase after signing a four-year $88 million dollar deal. This was before the Howard enlightenment that was on display this postseason.
Howard and Harden didn’t work out well, failing to get past the second round of the playoffs three years in a row. It was a massive disappointment for this team.
#4 Daryl Morey Selecting Marcus Morris One Pick Before Kawhi Leonard
One could argue 14 other teams passed up on Kawhi Leonard in the 2011 Draft; however, Morey and the Rockets get put under the microscope for this one. At best, Morris was and is a very good role player. He’s bounced around the league in various trades, while Kawhi is a two-time NBA Champion and two-time Finals MVP.
Morey struggled in drafts, and 2011 was no different. Kawhi would’ve been an excellent fit next to James Harden, who they acquired the following season.
#3 Signing Seven Game Superstar Jeremy Lin
Signing Jeremy Lin to a three-year, $25.1 million deal was so egregious even the Knicks knew not to match that offer (granted, it was a poison pill contract for New York). Linsanity in New York lasted for just about a month. And for some reason, the Rockets thought he was going to keep that up.
Long-story-short Lin was a flash in the pan and never came close to replicating his remarkable run with the Knicks. If the Knicks aren’t even going to match an offer for a player, you know something is up.
#2 Trading Clint Capela and Doubling Down on The Super Small Ball Idea
Morey decided to get rid of the only center on the team to create the ultimate small-ball squad, with the starting center being a 6’7 PJ Tucker.
Well, this one didn’t workout out at all, as Anthony Davis and LeBron James decimated them in the playoffs. The Lakers’ size and strength were too much for the Rockets. This was the beginning of the end for Morey.
#1 Trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook
Number one, alpha dog, the biggest blunder that Morey made as GM. Trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook. Chris Paul and James Harden had a great season in 2019, securing the number one seed and taking the Warriors super team to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
Chris Paul and James Harden had issues playing with each other. However, getting to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors dynasty is an outstanding achievement. If they ran it back, that team could’ve been impressive, and Morey would not have felt the need to trade away Capela.
Nevertheless, Paul was traded, and I don’t hate trading Paul. But trading Paul for Westbrick on a team that was going to rely on hitting threes heavily. Morey’s grandest idea was to get the point guard that has a career 30% three-point shot. Westbrook shot under 29% for three consecutive seasons. Normally players get better at shooting the more years they play. Westbrook got significantly worse, and it was happening for three seasons.
Morey had many good moves with Houston, but these horrible ones got him out of there. Morey one day will make a team happy as their GM. For this Rockets team, whoever comes next has to blow up that horrible small ball lineup they instituted.