The Houston Rockets look ready to gear up for another run at the Golden State Warriors and the rest of the Western Conference next season.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rockets ownership has given general manager Daryl Morey freedom to spend into the luxury tax next season, which they avoided this past season.
That would likely involve the Rockets using their $5.7 million mid-level exception, pending other roster moves.
Owner Tilman Fertitta more or less promised that the Rockets would continue to aggressively try to surpass the Warriors. Spending whatever money the team is allowed is something that they simply may have to do in order to continue their pursuit of that goal, and it sounds like Fertitta is ready to put his money where his mouth is.
The battle between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets is becoming quite active off the court, too.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr spoke to the media Monday and decried the “disappointing” focus on officiating that he blamed on the Houston side, considering it a distraction from the talent on the floor. Not long after that, Rockets GM Daryl Morey took to Twitter and shared an article from November of 2016 reporting that Kerr had been fined for repeated criticisms of officials.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) April 29, 2019
In other words, Morey is accusing Kerr of hypocrisy in trying to tamp down on officiating talk now after the Rockets raised the issue after Game 1. Like it or not, this is going to be a subplot for the rest of the series, and both teams will undoubtedly feel wronged by the officiating at some point. Judging from the NBA’s L2M report, the Rockets are the ones who have a point this time.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is definitely exploring every possible avenue for improvement.
10-time All-Star sharpshooter Ray Allen participated in Friday’s All-Star Celebrity Game and stole the show with 24 points, including a number of baskets from beyond the specially-made four-point line. The vintage outing was enough for Bleacher Report to call for Allen to receive a 10-day contract.
Someone give Jesus Shuttlesworth a 10-day. pic.twitter.com/fkzAsiGTfp
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 16, 2019
Morey responded to the tweet by simply saying “We are in if he is in.”
We are in if he is in https://t.co/mFbXzPjYu0
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) February 16, 2019
Allen last played for the Miami Heat in the 2013-14 season and is now 43, which would make him the oldest player in the league if he were indeed to come out of retirement. That being said, he remains the NBA’s all-time three-point king and proved on Friday that he hasn’t lost his stroke one bit.
Morey’s proposition is still probably a longshot at best though, especially since Allen was already inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September. But the Rockets actually came close to signing Allen a few years ago, so it might not hurt to shoot their shot again.
James Harden has been on an absolute tear lately, and it’s one his GM thinks he can keep up.
Harden entered Saturday averaging a career-best 33.6 points per game. He had a 50-point game and 47-point effort last month, and he’s scored over 40 points per game in five straight contests.
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey doesn’t see why Harden couldn’t keep up the pace.
"Obviously he can't keep scoring 40 a game, but …" I said Thursday night, prefacing a question about James Harden.
"Why not?" Daryl Morey interrupted, kinda chuckling but not kidding. "I mean, honestly. History would say probably not, but he’s a very unique offensive player."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 5, 2019
Harden still has a lot of work to get to Wilt Chamberlain territory, but Michael Jordan’s 37.09 points per game in 1986-87 seems like a mark that might be attainable.
The hot streak has all coincided with winning. Houston has won six in a row and 11 of their last 12, including a great win over Golden State. Even without Chris Paul, they’re looking like one of the top teams in the league again.
Chris Paul and Daryl Morey took aim at the referees for a horribly blown call in overtime of the Houston Rockets’ win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
The Rockets came back from down by 20 points early in the second half to win 135-134 in overtime on an improbable James Harden 3-pointer. Harden’s Rockets wouldn’t have even been trailing in the game if not for a horribly blown call.
The refs didn’t call Kevin Durant out of bounds even though he so blatantly was, which allowed him to save a ball and send it to Stephen Curry, who made a shot to break a 132-all tie. Durant even took multiple steps while out of bounds.
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) January 4, 2019
Some NBA officials are not great at this pic.twitter.com/KH3qxWHh2H
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 4, 2019
The unbelievably blown call was noted by Paul, who is out with a hamstring injury, and the Rockets’ GM. Both made references to “Bird Box,” a Netflix movie where people wear blindfolds.
So we doin the #BirdBoxChallenge during NBA games now huh
— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 4, 2019
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) January 4, 2019
Joel Embiid also made note of it.
Lmao how do you miss that??????
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 4, 2019
There is no excuse for blowing a call that badly. It’s up there for one of the most badly blown calls we’ve seen in a long time, and we’ve seen some truly awful calls.
Rajon Rondo unloaded on Chris Paul on Tuesday in the wake of both players being suspended for the fight they got into during Saturday night’s game, and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has seemingly come to the defense of his star point guard.
Rondo, who was accused of spitting at Paul before the two traded punches, told ESPN on Tuesday that he did not intentionally spit on Paul and was simply “exasperated” while trying to tell CP3 to get out of his face. He also said he’s not surprised that Paul got suspended for two games compared to Rondo’s three, as the Los Angeles Lakers guard said people have a false impression of the type of person Paul is.
“Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy,” Rondo said. “They don’t know he’s a horrible teammate. They don’t know how he treats people. … He comes out and says I spit and the media sides with that.”
Not long after Rondo’s remarks were published, Morey posted a not-so-subtle message on Twitter.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 23, 2018
The implication, obviously, is that Rondo is the pot calling the kettle black, or being a hypocrite. Rondo has been accused of being a difficult player for coaches and teammates to deal with, which is something we know Ray Allen would attest to.
For what it’s worth, one former player who played with both Paul and Rondo has sided with Rondo in the feud.
Daryl Morey’s Twitter account continues to be the gold standard.
On Friday, the Houston Rockets general manager came across a tweet that dissed his team. A Twitter user had posted a pair of selfies with the caption, “What’s worse than a heartbreak?” That prompted a reply from /r/NBA that read, “Missing 27 straight threes in Game 7 of the Conference Finals.”
Missing 27 straight threes in Game 7 of the Conference Finals https://t.co/fSa4MiPvRx
— /r/NBA (@NBA_Reddit) September 14, 2018
It’s an obvious and ruthless reference to the Rockets’ historic cold streak from downtown that sank them in the decisive game of this year’s Western Conference Finals against the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
Morey tweeted back with a funny claim that “it was only 25 straight.”
It was only 25 straight
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) September 14, 2018
Unfortunately though, Morey appears to be relying on some alternative facts here, as 27 straight missed threes was, in fact, the accurate number.
The Rockets at one point had missed 27 straight 3-pt FG tonight.@EliasSports tells us that's the most consecutive missed 3s in a playoff game in NBA history.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2018
But in any case, this isn’t the first time that the 46-year-old executive has entertained us with his snark on Twitter, and it probably won’t be the last.