In his fifth season, Daryl Morey has made safe, sensical moves. But the team is mired in the mud and headed for another mediocre season.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey held a Q&A session for season ticket holders prior to Friday evening’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, which turned out to be an 88-87 loss. Several topics were addressed, including the season-long situation with disgruntled center Omer Asik, the future of Chandler Parsons after his contract expires, as well as plans for the February 20th trade deadline.
When asked about the status of Asik, and his future in Houston, Morey stated that he will most likely finish out his contract with the Rockets.
“We pushed to trade Omer in December. We felt we had to make a fair and aggressive effort to do that. Obviously, he’d prefer to be a starter. At this point, Omer is very likely going to be here until the end of his contract at the end of next season, not this season. The window to trade him was [in December], and teams weren’t aggressive enough to get him, so we’re excited about him being a part of our future.”
Morey on the status of Chandler Parsons’ future, who can become a free agent after the season:
“With Chandler, we have an interesting decision. At the end of this year, we can turn down his option. People wonder why, because it’s so cheap, but then he’d be a restricted free agent. Or he can go through his fourth year and be an unrestricted free agent. There are advantages to each, so it’s something we’ll continue to talk about. He’s going to make a lot of money on his next contract. We don’t know how much. But we’re committed to keeping him.”
Morey on the Rockets’ plans with Donatas Motiejunas, who requested to be traded in January:
“Teams are opportunistic. Any player that other teams like and think is good and that’s not playing, generally that’s who you get calls on. We’ve gotten a lot of calls on Donatas because he’s a mobile 7-footer with offensive skill. He’s not a perfect player, but because he wasn’t playing, teams are like ‘Maybe we can get him on the cheap’. We believe in him. I expect him to be here. The reality is, it’s very hard to get a 7-footer who can play as well as him on a $1 million contract.”
On the February trade deadline:
The reality is, the more you prescribe what you’re going to do at the deadline, the worse off you are.
If you say you’ve got to go with X, if other teams sense you’re locked into a player or a particular direction, they take advantage of that. We’re very opportunistic. We didn’t know James Harden was going to be available. We just knew we wanted to build up the right sets so that when the next star acts, we’re ready to pounce.
We’re valuing now and this season much higher than we have in the past. We feel like, while maybe not the favorite, we have a legit chance to win the title this year. So if an opportunity presents itself to get a lot better this year, we’ll do it. We’ll give up some future for now.
That said, we do feel like we have a long run with this group. But you never know how long. It’s a balancing act. You’re always judging future vs. now, and what we’re optimizing on is the probability of us to win the title over a 3-to-4 year window. We’re trying to maximize that.
We’ll push down the future if it pushes up today high enough. If we can push up the future dramatically, we’d even push down today a little bit.”
It’s also important to note that when asked about the recent rumors about the Rockets pursuit of acquiring Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo, Morey declined to comment.