Rockets owner: GM Morey’s job is safe

Rockets owner: GM Morey’s job is safe

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta on Tuesday silenced speculation that general manager Daryl Morey’s job was in jeopardy.

“Daryl Morey’s job is safe, and I’m sure he’s going to pick the right head coach,” Fertitta said during his weekly appearance on CNBC.

The Rockets, who were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, are searching for a new head coach after Mike D’Antoni turned down extension offers to return for next season.

Morey’s job security had been called into question since his since-deleted tweet about Hong Kong in October damaged the NBA’s and Rockets’ business relationships with China.

Morey, 48, served in the Boston Celtics’ front office before beginning his career with the Rockets as an assistant general manager in 2006. He succeeded Carroll Dawson as the team’s general manager in 2007.

Under his watch, Houston has punched its ticket to the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons.

The first order of business for Morey will be looking to replace D’Antoni, whose 217-101 record with the Rockets since 2016-17 gave him the best winning percentage (.682) in franchise history. Houston was 28-23 in the postseason during D’Antoni’s tenure, losing in the conference semifinals three times and the conference finals once (2017-18).

“I personally wouldn’t know what coach to hire,” Fertitta said on CNBC. “That’s why you have a basketball operations team made up of a half-dozen people that use all sorts of analytics and experience. They’ll make a recommendation to me. I’m the sign-off guy.

“I wouldn’t know how to interview a basketball coach. To be successful in business — and I say this in my book — you better know what you know, and you better know what you don’t know. And I surely know what I don’t know when it comes to basketball.”