18 people who turned their back on the Houston Rockets franchise

NBA All-Star Game 2016
NBA All-Star Game 2016 / Elsa/GettyImages
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2. Daryl Morey

Daryl Morey was once viewed as Rockets royalty. Hell, many Rockets fans still view him in that light.

And understandably so, as the man spent 13 seasons in Houston's front office and turned the Rockets into a legitimate powerhouse in the 2010s despite starting the decade in basketball purgatory as a mediocre team.

Morey made the biggest trade in franchise history in 2012 when he acquired James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that was built around Kevin Martin. Morey shot his shot at the biggest stars in the league and reeled in a good amount of them, especially after the Harden trade.

The longtime Rockets executive paired Harden with Hall of Fame players ranging from Dwight Howard to Chris Paul to Russell Westbrook. And his roster moves led the Rockets to a 65-win team- the best in franchise history- and nearly to the 2018 NBA Finals.

The Rockets were never able to get over the hump, despite going to the Western Conference Finals twice. Morey decided that it was time to go in 2020, as he told the media that his kids had a "gap year" from school due to the novel coronavirus.

Morey was hoping to capitalize on having his kids at home, as classes were being held virtually at the time, across the country. 

Or so he said.

As it turns out, Morey had already started discussing his next role with the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Making matters worse was the state of affairs in Houston when he left, as the Rockets needed to trade Russell Westbrook and James Harden, and were relying on a rookie GM to pioneer such moves, not to mention their head coaching search. 

Not to mention the Rockets being devoid of draft capital at the time.

Talk about quitting when the going gets tough.