The Houston Rockets have had incredible stability and continuity within their front office for the past decade. Daryl Morey, before stepping down this past offseason, had been the Rockets general manager since 2007.
His replacement, Rafael Stone, had been with the team since 2005 as the team’s general counsel before taking. However, the Rockets front office could have looked very differently over the past decade.
Jay Bilas was almost the Houston Rockets general manager
ESPN’s Jay Bilas revealed on The Woj Pod, hosted by ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, that he had been offered the job of Houston Rockets general manager by then-owner Leslie Alexander. Alexander reportedly offered him the job at a cafe in southern California, with Bilas accepting in principle before the deal fell apart when discussing terms.
The Rockets then pivoted and hired Daryl Morey, which Bilas admitted was the right choice, and the rest is history. Morey’s vision has long defined the Houston Rockets, but it’s amazing to think that it almost never happened.
Would Bilas have been able to pull off the James Harden trade? Would he have prioritized coaches and players who fit the analytically inclined shot chart of lay-ups and threes?
The Rockets likely agree with Bilas that they made the right choice in hiring Morey, as they won the third-most games in the league over his 13-year tenure. Bilas hasn’t done too bad in the years since either, as he is one of ESPN’s most prominent NCAA Basketball analysts.
The things that don’t happen are sometimes as interesting as the things that do. Jay Bilas as the Rockets general manager sounds improbable, but it in fact, almost happened.