As loyal Dreamshakers will recall from the Rockets/Trailblazers game recap I posted last week, I had an opportunity to meet Daryl Morey at a Rockets event for season ticket holders. I'll briefly go over my conversation, and the general short talk and "Q&A" he held with the fans in attendance.
First, though, I want to note that I identified myself as writing for The Dreamshake right away. I didn't want to ask for information that he wouldn't mind sharing with the blog, and presumably, with the world. I didn't take notes, and this is my personal recollection. Please lay any inaccuracies, problems, or inconsistencies at my door, rather that at that of the Rockets. If something sounds unbelievable or weird, attribute that to me, not the Rockets.
- I asked Daryl Morey if he read the Dreamshake, and he answered, yes, he read it, and everything else. Based on what I know about him, I've every reason to believe it. He then asked me what sort of trades were being examined on the blog. I said that we didn't, in general, post of a lot of trade pieces, recognizing the difficulty of carrying out trades in the NBA. In fact, lots of our writing dealt with the theme of not expecting many trades and why.
- What players are people interested in us getting? Of the more believable sorts of proposals, I said sentiment was running high for Andre Iguodala. Who for? Brian Cook, if possible. Morey laughed at this.
- He was then asked by someone else about signing one of the big free agents of the summer - Bosh, Wade, that sort of thing. He answered that the rules were such that the home club, or the club the player is currently on, has a huge advantage in this situation. Basically, a player had to be willing to give up about $25 million on a long-term deal to move. The best way to accomplish anything was a "sign and trade", which presented its own problems.
- When addressing the crowd, he answered several questions, but two main themes emerged. One, the Rockets expect to add a significant piece either by the trading deadline, or in the off-season. Morey also stated that the club was in good shape, and willing to spend for the right deal. Two, the Rockets planned to use salary flexibility to retain as many of its guys as possible, with the caveat that everything is subject to change.
- When asked about Yao, he said the boot was coming off soon, Yao was around the complex, and might be starting to do a few things. This was borne out a few days later by Yao taking off his walking boot, shooting FTs, and having the bravery to invite GrungeDave to his new establishment.
- Morey was asked about Von Wafer. He answered that Wafer had failed a physical, that was why he wasn't on the team. This is something I imagine all Dreamshake readers know. He then said that Von's representatives were in contact with them, and they claimed Von was healthy, or close to it. Morey said that the Rockets would take another look at Von in this case. This was before the Lowry injury.
- When asked about trades in general, Morey answered that the trade analysis columns you read, featuring teams looking to trade, and who they are looking to move, such as those on ESPN, were by and large, accurate. The difficulty is moving from intentions to trade, and available players, to a deal that actually works from a talent and money standpoint.
- I asked him specifically about Sergio Llull and his impressions of him so far, adding that I thought he sounded like what we needed from a 3rd PG, combo guard. Morey did not seem to view Llull as a pure point, but as a combo player, and also thought he'd shoot somewhat worse from 3pt range in the NBA, probably high 30s, rather than the low 40s he's shooting in Spain. He noted that almost all the players on Llulls squad getting minutes were very seasoned, over 30, and for him to get real minutes indicated a high level talent and that he was an NBA player, though at what level was to be determined. I added that I thought Llull's height, at 6'3" could solve some matchup problems at point, and he seemed to agree. When asked if Llull might come over next season he said it depended on how the summer shook out, and Llull's club in Spain, which is nothing new, but indicates, perhaps, a desire to bring Llull over sooner rather than later.
These are some overall impressions I came away with:
The Rockets are on very sound footing financially, and are willing to spend to contend. They know they need to add a significant player and are working to do so.
Daryl Morey believes the team on the floor now and its performance will be attractive to many top players as a potential destination.
Nothing at this point suggests Yao won't be back.
Daryl Morey is personally very approachable, and pleasant. I asked him how he liked Houston, he replied very well because the hot summers just meant more time in the gym. That's a great thing to hear from your team's GM.