Rockets GM Daryl Morey: "By Playoffs, We Will Be Better Than Last Year"
There's a picture on Daryl Morey's Facebook page that is almost exactly five years old.
It's a picture from a July trip to Las Vegas for the NBA's Summer League, and presumably a night of unwinding in one of the casinos playing some blackjack. The caption to the picture says "Rockets win and then this in blackjack. Not bad."
"This" is four hands of blackjack after two splits of aces, a scenario where the odds are like the same as two strangers having identical DNA. It's an amazing and an appropriate metaphor for how the last two offseasons have gone for the Houston Rockets.
In 2012, they brought in James Harden for Kevin Martin's expiring contract, a late lottery pick (became Steven Adams), and some other slop. In 2013, they sold Dwight Howard on charting his next four (hopefully) years here in Houston.
In 2014, what's the appropriate blackjack metaphor?
After last Friday afternoon, when LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland, and hope was at an all-time high that Chris Bosh would become a Rocket, Morey was metaphorically sitting on a 20 while the dealer (who in this case was Pat Riley) had a six showing.
Unfortunately, when Riley turned over his face down card, it was a five (as in five years guaranteed). The next card was a jack (as in Bosh, you "jack ass," don't do it!).
Twenty one. Bosh went back to Miami.
From there, the rest of the weekend felt like the blackjack equivalent of return trip after return trip to the ATM, with the final bottoming out being the decision to allow Chandler Parsons to take his talents north up Interstate 45 to Dallas. If the metaphorical casino in question were in lake Charles, all that was left was the miserable two hour ride home.
However, Daryl Morey definitely doesn't see it that way. He would argue the rest of the weekend and the subsequent decisions, including letting Parsons go (hell, maybe especially letting Parsons go) was more like opting to stay away from the table, breaking even, leaving some money in the account, so that you can live to play cards another day.
Rocket fans loved Chandler Parsons, but in Morey's mind, the book on winning titles is the book of three -- as in, you have to have three All-Star players in order to compete. Until you have those three players, you overpay for nothing, and hoard anything of value.
Flexibility, asset compiling. Unfortunately, this is where Bosh's decision (the far more important decision on Friday to Houston) has left this team.
Morey, to his credit, unlike other GM's, will make the media rounds even after bad days. He doesn't just bask in the afterglow of Dwight, he will face the firing line after striking out on Bosh and allowing a popular player like Parsons to leave. He joined Nick Wright and John Lopez on SportsRadio 610 on Monday morning and addressed the events that went down over the last three days.