Rockets owner: 'No uncertainty' about GM Daryl Morey's status

ByCalvin Watkins ESPN logo
Friday, April 15, 2016

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has given a public vote of confidence to general manager Daryl Morey after Houston's season of struggles.

In an interview with Houston's Fox TV 26 on Thursday after the Rockets clinched the eighth seed in the Western Conference, Alexander said, "There is no uncertainty [about Morey's status]. Daryl is with the team. We evaluate everybody, but right now things aren't changing."

Morey didn't respond for comment about Alexander's remarks.

The Rockets open the playoffs Saturday at the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals.

ESPN reported last weekend that the Rockets are planning a comprehensive evaluation of all facets of the organization at the end of this highly disappointing season. The evaluation would put Morey under the microscope in addition to interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

On Wednesday, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Rockets have strong interest in the top two available coaches on the market: Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks.

Sources say Houston is intrigued by the prospect of Thibodeau bringing structure and discipline to the team after a season of chaos for the Rockets, who slipped from the No. 2 seed in the West last season with 56 wins to a 41-41 mark and the No. 8 seed. Thibodeau spent a few days with the Rockets in training camp as a guest of then-coach Kevin McHale.

Brooks, meanwhile, is a popular former Rocket who is known to have a strong relationship with Houston's best player, James Harden. Brooks also visited the Rockets in training camp and still has a home in the Houston area.

However, the Rockets' front office values Bickerstaff immensely, and he has the support of several players on the team. The Rockets have yet to make any decisions regarding Bickerstaff's future and will evaluate him once the season ends.

The Rockets won their final three games to avoid a losing season and secure a playoff berth, but significant roster changes are expected in the offseason, with free agent-to-be Dwight Howard widely anticipated to move elsewhere. There's little certainty beyond the Rockets' presumed intention to reload around Harden.

Morey's contract runs through the 2017-18 season. His ever-bold approach to roster assembly won kudos for bringing Harden (October 2012) and Howard (July 2013) to Houston in quick succession, but team chemistry has been a concern this season, given the well-chronicled deterioration of the Harden-Howard on-court relationship and the failed offseason gamble on guard Ty Lawson.

"You're asking the wrong guy about that," Morey told ESPN in a recent interview when asked about his job security. "That's Mr. Alexander's choice, and all I do is my job every day. He makes that call."

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