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Daryl Morey admits in heated interview Rockets probably won’t win championship next year

An interview that started off friendly became heated after Rockets GM Daryl Morey asked a radio host for tougher questions, leading to him admitting the team probably won’t win the NBA championship next year.

Morey had finished introducing Jeremy Lin as the newest member of the Rockets when he joined “The J&R Show” with Josh Innes and Rich Lord on Sports Radio 610 in Houston Thursday. The GM fielded a fair amount of questions about the team before telling Innes to ask tougher questions. Innes obliged and began peppering Morey about the Rockets’ status as a near-.500 team the past three seasons, and Morey’s job security. That’s when things got tense and Morey admitted the reality of the team’s status.

“29 out of 30 teams every year are disappointed so you can move yourself to any freaking city and make that same comment,” he said in response to Innes, who pointed out that the team doesn’t appear to be close to winning a title.

“So you’re brilliant,” Morey continued. “We’re probably not going to win the title next year. You can be in almost any NBA city and you’re going to be right about that, so that’s a great comment,” he said sarcastically.

Morey also scoffed at the suggestion that the Rockets struggle to attract free agents.

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Houston Rockets land Jeremy Lin after Knicks choose not to match bloated offer

Jeremy Lin is officially a Houston Rocket for the second time in his career.

Lin became a member of the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night when the Knicks decided not to match the three-year $25.1 million offer Houston made to him during his period as a restricted free agent. The $8 million per year figure may have been doable for New York, but it was the bloated $15 million “poison pill” he was owed in 2014-2015 that most likely discouraged the Knicks.

Had New York matched the contract and retained Lin, they would have owed $77.3 million to four players that season — Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony — and they would have owed $50-60 million in league taxes per the terms of the new CBA. New York would have had plenty of time to work around that crazy thought and could have traded Stoudemire and possibly waived Melo with the amnesty provision, but they decided to keep the team’s current core together in hopes of making a title run. They also opted to go the cheaper route by agreeing to a sign-and-trade with Portland where they acquired Ray Felton, and by adding Jason Kidd as a backup.

The Knicks would have been a better team with Lin, and now they’ve upset a big part of their fan base by getting rid of the best thing that’s happened to the team in years. But at that price, and without Mike D’Antoni (under whom Lin flourished as a point guard), it was the right move for the team to make even if it hurts them in the short-term. Linsanity had died and the fans will be satisfied as long as the team wins. That’s something they can do with or without Lin, as long as they manage things well in the future.

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Carl Landry Praises Rick Adelman After Firing by Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets announced on Monday that Rick Adelman would not be back as the team’s head coach after four seasons on the job. The sides mutually agreed to part ways and it’s pretty obvious there was a divergence regarding the way the team should be run. Adelman was discouraged by all the trades management made. From the time he took the job to now, only two players have remained with the team — Luis Scola and Chuck Hayes. That’s a lot different from the team led by Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady Adelman envisioned he’d be coaching when he got the job.

Despite the differences in philosophy, Adelman led Houston to a 193-135 record giving him the highest winning percentage in franchise history. He also helped the organization break its streak of seven consecutive first-round losses in the playoffs. He got a lot out of his players including Hayes and Scola, and he helped Carl Landry become an extremely valuable player.

Matter of fact, Landry who is now with the Hornets, had nothing but praise for Adelman after learning of the firing. “Is it true that the Houston Rockets let Rick Adelman go?” Landry asked on twitter. He followed it up saying “The man wins 50 games every year without T Mac and Yao and you get rid of him? I don’t understand … Thanks coach Adelman on helping me become the player I am today.”

What Landry has become is a strong bench player who can give you 26-27 minutes per game of scoring and energy. In his third year in the league, he emerged as a 16-point-per-game scorer for the Rockets before being traded to Sacramento for Kevin Martin. Landry didn’t appear to have much going for him his first two years in the league, but Adelman surely helped him reach a new level. I don’t know who Houston will hire next, but it will be tough to find someone better than Rick.

Rockets Take Out Newspaper Ad to Persuade Scola, Lowry to Re-Sign

Sincere or desperate? You make the call:

That picture is straight from the twitter account of Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Apparently that ad ran on Thursday July 1st in the Houston Chronicle — the first day of free agency. This seems to be a mixed message because rumors were flying that the Rockets are prepared to offer the Raptors Scola, Shane Battier, and Trevor Ariza for Chris Bosh in a sign and trade deal. I wouldn’t mind giving away Ariza’s contract but I’m sure the Rockets wouldn’t be wild about trading Scola as the ad indicates. I’m always a little worried about people going overboard with their pursuit of players in this might fit that bill. Or maybe Morey knows the personalities of Scola and Lowry and understands that they want to feel the love from the fans. I just think it’s a wee bit cheesy.

Sources:
Daryl Morey on Twitter

Tracy McGrady Done for the Season, Vince Carter Is Not the Answer

Just as the Rockets were tiring of T-Mac’s injury shenanigans, the oft-injured scorer decided to shut it down and get microfracture knee surgery. I feel bad that T-Mac’s having the prime of his career robbed by injuries, not unlike Grant Hill. But I don’t feel bad about calling out the media members that hyped up this Houston squad like it was the favorite in the Western Conference before the season began, just because they had acquired Ron Artest. Seriously, how could you look at this roster knowing its top stars are two of the most injury-prone dudes around — T-Mac and Yao — and call them the favorite to win anything other than most time spent in the training room.

Now what might be the worst part of this injury is the repurcussion. Sean Deveney at Sporting News wrote last week that Vince Carter was on the block, with the Spurs and Rockets battling for his services. Chad Ford now says the Nets are talking with the Blazers as well. I’m still trying to figure out what teams want to do with a guy owed $33 million over the next two years, considering he no longer poses the same scoring threat that he used to. I’m not sure how McGrady’s knee injury would impact a potential trade, but I do know that despite his ankle injuries, trading Artest for Carter won’t help the team. VC is slower and not as dynamic as he used to be. In the Nets games I’ve watched this year, he’s never hit an outside shot on a consistent basis. I just can’t see a team acquiring him and really improving. Last year I was wrong saying that Jason Kidd was the trade-deadline answer for a desperate team. I won’t make that same mistake this year with Carter. As for Houston, how could you not see this coming?

Rockets’ Streak Is Almost Meaningless

History tells us that Houston’s 20-game winning streak is tied for the second longest in the NBA. Only one other team in league history has won more consecutive games. That’s pretty impressive, but I’ll tell you why it’s nearly meaningless. To start, the Rockets would have to practically win out to approach the top streak in history, meaning they’re all but certain to only be second on the list. That’s cool and all, but it’s not too memorable. Additionally, given the circumstances of the Western Conference, the Rockets still have plenty of time to slip in the standings. Currently they’re only tied for first place in their division. They’ve won a quarter of their games in a row, and they’re still not even the top team in the conference, let alone division. That just speaks to the level of competition. Even if they play .600 ball the rest of the way, other teams can outperform them, leaving them to easily slip down to around the 6th spot.

Next, the fact that this is only the regular season renders the streak almost meaningless. Sure it’s helping them make the playoffs, but what good is this all if they don’t even make it out of the first round? T-Mac was left to cry last year after failing to win a playoff series yet again. They’re winning even without Yao in the lineup? Big deal. Let em win when it really matters. And when they did beat Dallas last week, wasn’t it without Dirk since he was suspended for the game? Things just fell into place otherwise it would have been over last week. So sure, this is a nice story, and it’s given me a top headline for the past week or so, but unfortunately, it’s almost meaningless. Good luck to you, Rockets, in the playoffs — where choking happens.

Yao Ming Cares More About the Beijing Olympics than the NBA

And I don’t mean that to be a negative commentary about the man. His statement at the press conference on Tuesday sort of slipped under the radar for me. Upon incurring a season-ending stress fracture in his foot, Yao said it would be the biggest loss in his career if he were to miss out on the Olympics because of the injury. Here he is, in a country where most of the top stars decline an invitation to play for team USA, and he’s saying that not representing his country would be the biggest disappointment for him. That’s insane. It makes news headlines for us when a star NBA player says he will play for the U.S. — this news is incredibly difficult for us to comprehend.

So now I pose the question to you: is Yao off base in his thinking or does he have his priorities straight? Was his statement a noble one? Is being patriotic more important than being there for one’s NBA team? Have I lost complete sight of proper values by thinking players’ commitments to their NBA teams are more important than how the country performs in the Olympics? I just don’t think the Olympic team is a big deal for us; everyone already knows the best basketball is played in the U.S., what else do we have to prove? But for Yao, I can see why this would be a disappointment. He represents what, the largest country in the world? He was their hero, their savior? Possibly their largest international sportsman when the Olympics happen to be in his home country? I can see why this would be a major disappointment for him — he has the weight of his nation on his shoulders. I understand his comment and think most of it stems from patriotic pressure. I do have to say though that I don’t think it means our players have their priorities out of whack.