The Rockets Reorganized Front Office

Bob Levey

General Manager Daryl Morey jokes he is the Assistant General Manager with Dwight Howard and James Harden slated to have some say in the personnel decisions of the Houston Rockets.

How was that title for an eye catcher? Recently Daryl Morey was asked about the fates of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. It seems like the Internet has been ablaze with rumors of Omer Asik's potential landing spots and Jeremy Lin's future with the team. Well, fear not, Rockets fans, Daryl has answered your questions. Remember when he said Lin and Asik were a major factor in Howard's decision to come? Well, that hasn't changed. In regards to last year's free agent tandem Morey had this to say:

"The reality is James and Dwight want to play with Jeremy and Omer. I've been kicked down to Assistant GM. They're going to be here."

That's an interesting statement in and of itself. Not only because Daryl stated the team's stance on Jeremy and Omer but because he demoted himself to assistant GM. Let's unpack this a little bit because it bears some discussion.

Nothing has changed.

Remember a few weeks ago when the Rockets were rumored to have no intent to move Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik? That report was cast into doubt when word leaked that Asik may have requested a trade from the Houston Rockets. Speculation has reigned supreme about whether or not Jeremy Lin would also be with the team despite Morey's assurance that he didn't have a plan to move either player. In recent interviews Morey stood by these statements. He cited Lin as one of the best pick and roll players in the NBA and that as an active scorer on the floor he would excel with Howard. Asik was praised for his ability to keep this Rockets team strong saying that we sucked without Omer on the court. Omer and Jeremy played a prominent role in helping Dwight make his decision to come to Houston.

The fact of the matter is that Lin and Asik were integral to the success of the Rockets last season. That is an undisputable fact. Jeremy Lin played a pivotal role in the development of chemistry on this team along with Chandler Parsons and James Harden, of course. Asik bled for this team on several occasions and showed no sign of quit at any point the entire season and that toughness was critical throughout the year. Shy of an amazing offer to strip the Rockets of either Jeremy Lin or Omer Asik nothing will change. Asik is one of the better starting centers in the league and in a reserve role there isn't a better player out there. Jeremy is a dynamic young guard with room to grow despite the lavish amounts of praise and criticism he draws from fans and detractors alike. You don't tend to get players of this caliber or with this ceiling without sacrificing something and depending on the owner's frugality their pay grades could play a part (The cap hit is averaged to 8.3 million a year whereas the pay schedule is still 5-5-15) in harming potential deals.

To keep with the theme of this header nothing really has changed. There are no plans to move Omer or Jeremy but those plans can change at some point. Daryl has never shied away from making a deal if the opportunity presents itself and could benefit his team. Though there is one wrinkle in the theory that nothing has actually changed...

Everything has changed.

Well, I say everything in regards to the dynamic. That statement above makes it abundantly clear, doesn't it? Morey acknowledges he is now the assistant GM because of what James Harden and Dwight Howard have requested. Let's not make a mistake about it, this is not a General Manager acquiescing that he is now a pawn of his players. Daryl acknowledges that he now has a pair of franchise superstars that know how they want to be successful. Better yet, these two superstars want to be successful with the players Daryl already had on the team with them. Already James, Dwight, Chandler, Beverley, Terrence, Greg, and Isaiah, Omri, and Jeremy are all working out in Los Angeles. Their desires merged together and they're already putting the work in.

When the Rockets made their pitch to Dwight Howard they assuredly ran numbers by him. There is no doubt that the Rockets spoke of how their current personnel worked with Dwight and what kind of players they wanted to surround him with. Dwight himself said he looks forward to working with Omer. Kevin McHale has said he looks forward to having two seven footers to work with. It seems that at this point Daryl Morey has effectively found synergy amongst two top 10 NBA players and a hall of fame player turned coach.

For the first time in Daryl's tenure he has two superstars that he really must pay attention to and the front office seems to relish the though. The question is; "Is this a dangerous dynamic?"

No, not really.

Why isn't it a problem? Well, long story short, you've got to keep your team happy and build the roster. James and Dwight will have their say because they're slated to be on the Rockets for the next four years at a minimum. Morey has never hesitated to pull the trigger on the right deal if it comes around but the players on the roster so far don't seem to be the kind that will hold the rest of the team back. It remains to be seen whether or not Jeremy can be the point guard on a title team but he has to have that opportunity first, no? Omer has proven his worth in a back up and starting capacity so there's no concerns there. So long as Houston avoids the Cleveland conundrum (Where your franchise player dictates so many moves you're financially handcuffed and aforementioned player leaves due to your inability to be flexible anymore) there shouldn't be a problem. Dwight and James have seemed affable across their careers and willing to accept change so long as that change is beneficial. If there's anything Rockets fans should acknowledge about Daryl Morey it's that when he makes change happen, he makes sure it's positive.

Where does it go from here?

Well, for most of the roster it starts in Los Angeles. The team is getting workouts in, building chemistry, and preparing themselves for a year where they have set lofty expectations for themselves. The decision-making in the organization is still nice and centralized to allow Daryl to continue to work his magic. Leslie Alexander is still willing and able to cut checks for a winner. Dwight and James will have their say in who comes and goes in Houston so long as Kevin McHale feels as though he can make them all work together with his foundation. Don't expect the team to stagnate but the team, as constructed now, is already drawing praise as a title contender. The question isn't whether or not the Rockets are limited to Dwight and James's wishes, it's whether or not this roster gets a title in one year or two.

As always, mock me in the comments, tweet mean things to @QuestionablyBD or email me at TDSMailbag@gmail.com for particularly angry comments.

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