Here’s why the latest Houston sports news involving Texans GM Bill O’Brien should make Houston Rockets fans thankful to have Daryl Morey.
By now, you likely are aware of the fact that the Houston Texans have traded DeAndre Hopkins, as it’s been one of the biggest sports stories of late, especially considering how the NBA has suspended play. When the trade was announced, many Houston sports fans hoped it was fake news, as there’s no way a general manager would make such a move, right? At least Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey would never trade the team’s best player without yielding a replacement in exchange.
As we all know, the Texans have opted to allow coach Bill O’Brien to operate as the GM, which has given him total autonomy to make such moves. This decision raised eyebrows, as O’Brien hasn’t necessarily accomplished anything to warrant such power and authority, which made it clear the Texans were going about their GM vacancy the wrong way.
This ultimately has led to a franchise-altering move to get rid of one of the league’s best receivers, and the reported reason was due to Hopkins wanting a new contract, and a power battle between O’Brien and Hopkins. This undervalues the importance of not only having an experienced GM, but also having someone at the helm like Morey, who is a big picture thinker.
That would be like Morey trading James Harden simply because he wants a supermax contract, which isn’t something Morey would ever do. In fact, Morey has given Harden multiple extensions over the course of Harden’s eight seasons in the Space City. But not only that, we’ve seen Morey give extensions when they’ve been deserved, such as Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, and even Chris Paul (granted P.J. Tucker is a different story).
And Morey has done this in spite of the Rockets having salary cap issues yearly, and having an owner in Tilman Fertitta, who keeps a watchful eye on the Rockets’ spending. Although Tucker hasn’t earned an extension yet, Morey wouldn’t just trade him simply because he’s requested a new contract, as a true GM would know how foolish that would be.
For as much as Morey has earned a reputation for being willing to trade players quickly, we’ve never seen him make a trade without having already identified a solution for how to replace said player. And we’d never see him trade James Harden or any other star player, for any reason outside of their performance on the playing surface.
It was reported Wednesday that O’Brien had a conversation with Hopkins about the mothers of his children, which is not something a general manager should even be concerned with. Again, Morey would never delve into a player’s personal life like that, as there’s no reason to. And especially when it’s not affecting their play on the playing surface.
This is not to say Morey is perfect, as everyone makes mistakes, but we’ve never seen him handle a situation as poorly as O’Brien has handled the Hopkins fiasco. The biggest player-related criticism we’ve heard about Morey this season has been from Chris Paul, who has repeatedly expressed frustration about being moved to Oklahoma City.
But even if we look at that situation, Morey gave CP3 a contract worth $160 million, one year before moving him, and the Rockets got back an all-around better player in Russell Westbrook, who has a better relationship with James Harden. These are the types of things an experienced general manager would know to do.
Morey turned the Houston Rockets into one of the best teams in the Western Conference, when they were a fringe lottery team prior to the acquisition of James Harden. During that time, we’ve seen him try surrounding Harden with valuable players such as Lou Williams, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and now Russell Westbrook, which has earned him the reputation of one of the best GM’s in the league.
On the flip side, what has O’Brien accomplished? Sure he went all-in to bring in Laremy Tunsil, but what was the asking price? And why didn’t they agree to a long-term deal with Tunsil at the time. Furthermore, the Texans’ most recent stars were acquired by former GM Rick Smith, who was at the helm when the Texans drafted JJ Watt, Deshaun Watson, and also DeAndre Hopkins,
This underscores the value of a true GM, who would know the reasons to trade a star player, and the importance of having a replacement in mind. At least the Houston Rockets don’t have that problem.