Apparently, Rick Adelman turned down a chance to assume the role of Dead Man Walking. This is according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, and I have a feeling that we'll see more details emerge as time goes by.
Adelman could have remained the Rockets' head coach, but was told that the Rockets had decided to hire his successor and put him on Adelman's coaching staff if he remained, according to two individuals with knowledge of the talks.
Though Adelman and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey came together on several issues, Morey wanted Adelman to mentor a successor that Morey and Rockets owner Leslie Alexander would have chosen and put on Adelman's staff. Adelman was unwilling to make the changes necessary to his staff, arguing in favor of assistants.
If I have yet draw a line with one of Daryl Morey's decisions, well, this might be a good place to whip out my sidewalk chalk.
I view this as Morey attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole. It could be a shiny, diamond-covered square peg, but just because the peg is nice doesn't mean that the situation is workable.
Though I'm hesitant to definitively conclude that Feigen's notes serve to encompass the back-and-forth in its entirety, I do think that there is clarity to be found regarding each party's agenda.
For Morey, I sure hope that his offer for Adelman to mentor an outside replacement was merely an attempt at making a 'courtesy' move -- one that a blind mouse could have easily seen backfiring -- and not a plan that he actually considered to be feasible. I understand that the decision to eventually part ways with Adelman had already been made, but isn't there a level of due diligence that the Rockets owe Adelman, at least beyond asking him to "mentor" an outside source when he has clearly placed confidence in his top assistant, Elston Turner? And if Morey wasn't willing to promote Turner -- a recipient of what I consider to be the ultimate recommendation -- why would he agree to keep in tow a coach of one particular philosophy to tutor a coach-in-waiting who would only employ a presumably alternative philosophy?
Perhaps a different question can be asked: does this separation really stem from a desire to change the team philosophy, or is it the result of a general distaste of Adelman and Turner by the front office altogether? I'd like to think that it's the former, but this ignorance to the capabilities of Turner suggests otherwise. I don't know near as much about Turner as does the organization, but I trust Adelman's judgment.
For Adelman, the offer represents large tub of spit to the face. If a Hall of Fame résumé -- not to mention a standup performance in Houston -- isn't enough to earn a decent level of respect and trust, then I don't blame him for his exit in the least.
I hesitate to make too big a deal of this, if only because the context of this conversation is unclear. But on the surface, I'm bothered by the lack of respect shown to Adelman, yet I equally hesitate to mercilessly lampoon Morey. It was a boneheaded move on his part, but it's only a tiny smudge on an otherwise clean mirror. I hope that we don't suddenly take our thumb to that very smudge and proceed to mold it until the mirror is ruined, because that would be the very definition of an overreaction.
In all, according to my "How Much I Like You" scale, Morey loses points, Adelman gains points, but in the end, the scale itself is silly and has little to do with basketball or business.