The “Moreyball” era in Houston is over.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is stepping down after working out an exit agreement with team owner Tilman Fertitta, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. A source told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen that leaving the organization was “100 percent” Morey’s decision. The Rockets plan to promote executive vice president of basketball operations Rafael Stone to general manager, and Morey will serve as a short-term adviser until Houston completes its head-coaching search, per Wojnarowski.
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Morey’s final year with the Rockets was filled with drama. The Russell Westbrook-Chris Paul trade, the controversial tweet about Hong Kong, the decision to go all-in on small ball at the trade deadline, the departure of Mike D’Antoni immediately after Houston was eliminated from the 2020 playoffs — not exactly an ideal season.
And yet, despite a tumultuous ending, Morey’s tenure was undoubtedly successful.
The 48-year-old executive also deserves credit for being a pioneer in the analytics movement. As ESPN’s Kevin Pelton notes, Morey’s Rockets teams launched far more 3-pointers than any team over the last decade-plus and had a major influence on the modern NBA.
In his quest for a championship, though, Morey kept running into the same roadblock: the mighty Warriors. Houston challenged the Golden State dynasty unlike any other opponent, but the result was always the same: Warriors advance, Morey sends congratulatory tweet.
Golden State defeated Houston in the 2015 Western Conference finals on its way to the title.
Congratulations Warriors. Great great team. Thank you to Rockets fans, you carried us all year. Back at it #pursuit2016
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) May 28, 2015
Then the Rockets lost to the Warriors in the first round the next year.
Congratulations to the Warriors. Great team.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) April 28, 2016
They didn’t face off in the 2017 playoffs, but there was still a tweet.
A hard-fought seven-gamer in the 2018 Western Conference finals. Warriors win.
One more time for good measure.
You come at the king, you best not miss. Congratulations @warriors
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) May 11, 2019
But, hey, at least Houston was … not as bad against Golden State as the rest of the league?
vs the Warriors the last 3 years in the playoffs —
Rest of NBA: 5-34
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) May 18, 2019
If nothing else, Morey got to send a different tweet in 2020.
Congratulations to Morey on a great run with the Rockets. Best of luck with wherever your professional path takes you (hopefully away from the Warriors).