Rockets' Daryl Morey stepping down as general manager year after Hong Kong tweet controversy: report

NBA commissioner says Chinese officials asked for Houston Rockets’ GM to be fired over Hong Kong support

Sports agent Doug Eldridge says the NBA’s crisis communications plan has failed.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is reportedly stepping down from his role with the team despite building a squad that had been to the playoffs 10 times during his tenure.

The Rockets had gone 44-28 in the shortened 2019-20 season and lost in the Western Conference semifinals after Morey made the shrewd move of trading for Russell Westbrook to pair with James Harden in the previous offseason. ESPN reported Thursday that Morey had stepped down.

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Morey had come under fire more than a year ago for his support of the Hong Kong protesters. The tweet led to China pulling the NBA games off the airwaves and the Communist regime pulling down banners advertising preseason games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.

Houston owner Tillman Fertitta had publicly supported Morey despite the wave of backlash it brought the NBA, including the increased scrutiny over the league’s ties with China and players failing to speak out against China despite dipping their toes into social justice waters.

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Morey took over as general manager of the team in 2007 and is one of the people credited with valuing the three-pointer over the two-pointer, which led to a massive increase in long-range shots being taken. However, the idea never translated into championships of any kind for the Rockets.

Despite having teams with Harden, Westbrook, Chris Paul, Yao Ming and Dwight Howard, the Rockets never made it to the NBA Finals and haven’t been to one since 1995. The team has the longest active streak of playoff appearances at eight consecutive years.

Rafael Stone is expected to take over as general manager, ESPN reported.

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The team is also in search of a new coach. Houston and Mike D’Antoni parted ways earlier in the fall.

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