The Houston Rockets and the organization as we know it may be in for a huge shakeup — allegedly.
During their trade-season special, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe talked Rockets. Mostly ominous, Woj dropped a huge bomb on the state of the franchise and what this season means for the team:
“This is really a moment of truth coming for this entire organization. [Mike D’Antoni] is in the last year of his deal. Daryl Morey sent that Tweet out earlier this season. There’s even more pressure on (Morey) with this new ownership group to advance deeper than they have in the playoffs. The only thing left for them is the NBA Finals. I think this era of Rockets basketball is at stake with this season.”
As foreboding of a tone that is, Woj reports that the Rockets are still going to look to make moves, but that is going to be tough. The team, hopeful that they would get Andre Iguodala when he was traded to Memphis, has essentially given up on making a deal happen.
“Daryl Morey has tried any number of two-way, three-way, four-way scenarios to get Andre Iguodala from Memphis,” Woj said. “That doesn’t seem to be a scenario that is going to come into play. I think he’s kind of throwing his hands up on that one.”
The two also point out the lack of attractions that they have. Essentially, they have Clint Capela and Eric Gordon. Gordon can’t be traded until at least six month after his contract. The former Sixth Man of the Year was signed back in September, and the trade deadline is Feb. 6. I will allow you to do the math.
This report isn’t exactly new news. The Rockets and their fans know they don’t really have any more assets left to trade. It also only makes sense that it’s being reported fresh off the heels of The Athletic saying that the Rockets need a championship in order to keep D’Antoni. As for the new management, there have been very opposing and public disagreements between Tilman Ferttita and D’Antoni and Morey, respectively.
The only real, plausible explanation to give for this “era” of Rockets basketball being “at “stake” is Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni being on their way out. It would be fun and interesting to speculate James Harden being the culprit, but the truth is that having a big, shiny megastar like Harden, and even Russell Westbrook, appeals to a man like Fertitta who just wants to win big and fast.
No, this would have to be about Morey and D’Antoni — if “era” is the correct word here. Maybe “era” could mean moving on from Capela, who knows? But if we’re talking “era” in its truest form, this is Morey’s team. Since 2007, Morey has been the architect for what the Rockets and the organization’s identity is and always wanted to be. He’s made all the moves, down to getting the man he felt was best suited to fulfill this idea, Mike D’Antoni.
And if we’re being really speculative, the public disputes Fertitta had with Morey and the head coach essentially lays the groundwork to conflate a bigger issue between him and them — one that could see them looking for new teams. If he was really there for his GM, he probably would have spoken to Morey first before throwing him to the wolves over the China Tweet. He also would’ve done his best to not pass the buck and make public comments over D’Atoni’s contract, forcing the coach’s manager to respond publicly.
“Hearsay” has been thrown around a bunch, but this report could honestly be made up on the spot and probably be more right than wrong. D’Antoni’s in the last year of his contract. Daryl Morey, in all likelihood, may have played his last hand. And if he hasn’t, then whatever move his has left could save both his and D’Antoni’s job.
Or, and this is a big “or,” maybe he will actually clean house, dump his GM and coaching staff, and look to move Harden and Westbrook for picks and young talent. The only question is, who do you get to move them for you?
Who’s to say what any of this actually means. In the meantime, there’s still a lot of basketball left to play.