Making sense of Morey’s quotes
This certainly seems like an unnecessary amount of praise to dole out if the Houston Rockets had plans on parting ways with the 2017 Coach of the Year. We also have to remember that these are plans we were told the Rockets formulated much earlier than March, which is when Morey made those comments. Morey spoke about how D’Antoni is the reason he was able to make the Covington trade, which was the birth of the small ball experience Morey values and lives by.
He also stated that he feels he’s challenged by D’Antoni, which isn’t necessarily something that should be ignored. Morey cited D’Antoni as “understanding how to use” what the Rockets’ brass was trying to do, which isn’t exactly something you can plug and play with any particular coach, especially considering the Rockets’ numbers-based scheme. This is evident by former coach Kevin McHale‘s criticism of the Rockets’ system, and we can’t assume he’s the only coach that feels that way.
Stranger things have certainly happened, and especially as it pertains to head coaching jobs in the NBA, but it would be a masterful job of deception on the Rockets’ part to offer this much praise for D’Antoni on his way out the door, if they were planning on making a change,
It’s especially interesting considering that he had this much to say about MDA around the same time the rumors and speculation began to heat up. The one consistent thing we’ve heard about dating back to last summer was about the Rockets’ contract negotiations with MDA, as the Rockets made a contractual offer to him which he rejected.
On Tuesday, Sam Amick of The Athletic also referenced the Rockets’ contract talks with D’Antoni, saying that he’s heard they’re far apart on agreeing to a number, which begs to question, who would have leaked that out? And why exactly would it have leaked at this juncture?
For this reason, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this is a negotiating tactic the Rockets could potentially be trying to utilize, but again, crazier things have happened.