On the day after the official announcement of Rick Adelman and the Rockets parting ways, GM Daryl Morey joined John Lopez and myself in studio on Wednesday morning. I’ve never seen Daryl quite as animated as he was with us, refuting some of the criticisms that have been levied against him. Here are some random thoughts I have of the entire situation:
Stability – Fran Blinebury of NBA.com came on with us Tuesday and heavily criticized Morey for having thirty players on the roster over the last couple of years. On the air, Daryl pointed out that the Celtics have also had just as many roster changes over the same timeframe. At the risk of sounding like a Rockets shill, I agree with his take. Why? First off, the majority of those player changes are on the back end (9th/10th/11th/12th players) on the roster. That doesn’t dramatically impact your chance of winning basketball games.
Secondly, the bottom line here is winning a championship. We can’t demand excellence from the Rockets on one hand, and then also rip them for changing players at the 40-43 win level. Should they be 100% content with the status quo?
I do believe Fran has a point in the idea that you want to have some overall stability running through your organization. Making trades just for their sake is not a good idea, but I don’t think Daryl has done that.
Rick Adelman Evaluation – This is a big piece that I took out of the interview. Morey flat-out said that fans and media shouldn’t view this parting of ways as a judgement that the Rockets felt Adelman somehow failed or did a bad job.
To me, it basically sounds like the team is in a different stage, and a veteran coach doesn’t really fit this mix. Towards the very end of the interview, Daryl stated that he and Rick gave their ideal views of the team going forward, and the two visions did not mesh together. At that point, the best thing to do was for both sides to go their separate ways.
Trades – One thing that has come out of the last two days is that it’s clear Rick Adelman did not like the idea of trading both Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks at the trade deadline. That information was both reported in the newspapers and also admitted by Morey.
The reality is, the basketball coach has to win the games on the schedule that season, whereas the GM is entrusted with the goal of building a team for the near and short-term future. Sometimes those two can be at odds. If you’re the Rockets and two players (Battier and Brooks) are about to become free agents, the prudent thing is to get what you can for them before they move elsewhere for nothing.
Personally, I don’t see how anyone can be against the Brooks deal. He had a terrible season, did nothing with the Suns, and you acquired a pretty solid (and developing player) in Goran Dragic out of the deal. Considering the lack of playing time for Hasheem Thabeet, the Battier trade is a wait-and-see scenario.
Not landing a star – We played a sound-byte of Blinebury criticizing Morey for not landing Carmelo Anthony, and the Rockets GM said it’s a valid criticism.
I know that people are tired of hearing that the team needs to build up their roster to eventually acquire a star player, but as I always says on the air, every team except for the 2004 Detroit Pistons has won an NBA championship with an uber-elite player. As Daryl Morey said on Wednesday morning, you can accept that reality or ignore it.