Rockets’ Daryl Morey talks feud with Termine, mortgaging the future, and more

Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Mike D’Antoni (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Relationship with D’Antoni

Heading into the season, the Houston Rockets were unable to reach a contract extension with coach Mike D’Antoni. This meant the writing was on the wall, as we don’t often see teams force coaches to complete the final year on their contract, unless they intend on parting ways afterwards.

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However, many believe D’Antoni has earned an extension due to his ability to innovate his offense to allow Russell Westbrook to fit into the Rockets’ system. MDA deserves credit for that, as we all know the Rockets shoot 3-pointers and Russell Westbrook is far from a sniper.

Morey spoke on behalf of his relationship with D’Antoni and offered this response to the question of what he looks for in a coach:

“I like someone who I’m being challenged by. Mike comes in and is constantly like ‘hey we should do this.’ The reality is without Mike D’Antoni, this Clint for Covington trade never happens. I’d be shocked if there’s very many coaches in the league where I can get that trade done.

As a GM, if you’re making what is a pretty big gamble, if you don’t have the coach on-board in a way that he understands how to use what we were going to try and do, you can’t make that. It’s just too risky, too risky. Too much giving up.

Coach D’Antoni said ‘I trust what you guys are doing, I see what you’re doing and we’re going to make it work. That means so much.”

The timing of this podcast was especially interesting, because the Rockets hadn’t lost to the Magic and the Hornets yet, although they had lost two straight to the Clippers and the Knicks, so it’s hard to imagine Morey saying anything different based on those two additional losses

It’s obvious MDA will be in Houston for the long-haul if the Rockets win the title, but what if they don’t? That’s a real possibility, as the Rockets haven’t looked like a legitimate contender this season. The small ball strategy hasn’t totally been to blame for that, but it has played a part in the Rockets’ recent four-game losing streak.

Based on the relationship Morey described between himself and D’Antoni, it seems MDA may have already secured an extension, as Morey mentioned how meaningful it was for MDA to support him and his small-ball experiment.

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Morey explained how MDA has made it easier for him to take risks and take gambles as a GM, and we don’t know if the potential replacement would do the same. It’ll be interesting to see how the Rockets fare in the playoffs, but don’t be surprised if MDA is back, despite what you’ve been hearing to the contrary.