After 13 Seasons, Rockets Daryl Morey Steps Down from GM Role
One of the game’s most forward-thinking revolutionaries decided to step down on Thursday.
After 13 seasons, Daryl Morey felt it was the “right time” for him to step down from his role as general manager of the Houston Rockets. The analytically-driven Morey leaves behind a legacy unlike any other in league history despite never reaching the pinnacle of the NBA world.
“For me, it was just a great run,” Morey told ESPN on Thursday night. “Personally, the timing worked for me. My youngest son just graduated from high school, and it was just the right time to see what’s next with family and other potential things in the future. It just felt like the right time.”
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Morey cited personal reasons as his reason for stepping down. He will officially step down on November 1, until which time he will help the Rockets find a replacement as well as bring on a new head coach to fill in for the departed Mike D’Antoni. According to report, the Rockets are expected to make an in-house move and push Rafael Stone to the role of GM.
“He had always said, ‘I’m not going to be here forever,’ and ‘At some point, I might want to go back to the East Coast,'” team owner Tilman Fertitta said on Morey. “I didn’t think it was going to happen. I knew that this was that year, but Daryl’s been here [almost] 15 years. I was surprised, but yet I remembered the previous conversations. He’s reminded me of that a few times.”
In his 13 seasons with the team, Morey will be remembered for his role in helping bring analytics to the forefront of sports, while not shying away from competing in the Western Conference against the powerhouse Golden State Warriors, when many other teams chose to rebuild and lay low.
And of course, who will ever forget the James Harden fleece trade?
“I just feel incredibly fortunate that I got the chance to be part of the Rockets organization all those years ago,” Morey said. “Obviously, I somehow managed to make it a little longer than most, and it just felt like the right time. I think the whole Rockets organization has done amazing things. Obviously [fell] a little short of the title, but if your team is not the Warriors or had a certain player on it, not a lot of teams have won. It’s tough out there, but obviously I have a lot of great memories and a lot of pride for being a part of the Rockets organization.”
The Rockets will also promote Eli Witus to assistant general manager. The continuity within the organization is a testament to the front office that Morey has built over his 13 long years with the Rockets.
“It’s total continuity,” Fertitta said. “That’s one of the reasons that we promoted Rafael. You’ve got to understand, Tad Brown’s been the CEO of the franchise for a long time. We’ve had very little turnover [in the front office], and when people have left, it’s been for better positions — basketball people getting GM jobs. There was no reason to even think about going outside of the franchise.
“Rafael was here from the very first basketball meeting that I ever had, sitting right next to Daryl. I love the way that Daryl and Rafe would dispute something that we would all be talking about. It’s always been a collaborative effort and very positive. As much as I hate for Daryl to leave, I want him to be happy. And at the same time, we’ve got a deep bench. With Rafael and Eli, I feel very, very comfortable.”
Whether or not this is the last we see of Morey in the NBA, he undoubtedly has left his mark and will leave the game as one of the most respected executives and fearless minds in all of sports.