Is Daryl Morey getting a pass for quitting on the Rockets?

General Manager Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
General Manager Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Why Morey was wrong for the manner in which he left the Rockets

As it was determined on Sunday night, Morey’s abrupt decision wasn’t tied to the Rockets’ lack of spending, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle provided the actual reason for Morey’s decision to bail on what he created, while appearing on Texas Sports Nation.

“He really felt like, ‘I need to start over.’ He’s been banging his head against the wall, trying to get the Rockets through those last steps.

When you go all in, and you lose, you get up and leave the table. And that’s what Daryl did.”

If this was the true reason for Morey’s exit, there would have been no shame in admitting this. Rockets fans have seen the creative approach that Morey employed, which allowed the franchise to make the postseason for eight consecutive seasons, which became a league-best.

For as great as Morey was in Houston, he’s also to blame for the current state of the Rockets, which presents several challenges for Rafael Stone, who was named as Morey’s replacement. The Rockets have $129.3 million invested in nine players for the 2020-21 season, and the number would increase to $131.7 million if Austin Rivers opts in to his final year of his contract.

In addition, the Rockets don’t have a first-round or second-round draft pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which is largely due to Morey’s continued willingness to go all in on acquiring stars. Morey deciding to leave the situation he created with the Rockets, while inheriting a clean slate with the Philadelphia 76ers, shouldn’t be overlooked.

We should also analyze his comments he made during his media availability following his exit from the Rockets, as they tell a far different tale than Feigen’s.

“Timing wise, I just felt like it was time to think about other possibilities, family. Both of my kids are on gap years from college. It felt like the right time.”

Morey owed the Rockets’ fanbase more than a dishonest answer for leaving the franchise, as it would’ve been understandable if he admitted that he felt he couldn’t make the necessary roster moves to help the Rockets get closer to winning a championship. It’s clear that he had the Sixers job lined up, based on Wojnarowski’s account, so he didn’t need to mask that truth with the “gap year” phrase.

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In the same way that we acknowledge the brilliance with which Morey exemplified the general manager position with the Rockets, we should also acknowledge that he could have handled his departure much better, as he was dishonest about his reason for leaving the Houston Rockets.