Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta believes former general manager Daryl Morey will return to the NBA and do so with an established team on the east coast, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN .
“He had always said, ‘I’m not going to be here forever,’ and, ‘At some point, I might want to go back to the East Coast,’” Fertitta said of the ex-Rockets GM, who recently stepped down from the organization. “I didn’t think it was going to happen. I knew that this was that year, but Daryl’s been here [almost] 15 years. I was surprised, but yet I remembered the previous conversations. He’s reminded me of that a few times.”
One of the leading proponents for the use of analytics in basketball, Morey’s tenure in Houston was as much defined by the on-court success of the franchise, as it was the controversy the general manager seemed to invite. Be it the clash with traditionalists that derided the Rockets’ emphasis on “space” and 3-point shooting, or his controversial tweets regarding China’s treatment of Hong Kong (that jeopardized a key partnership for the league), Morey was as much the subject of press inquiries as any of the stars he recruited to Texas.
Though he has failed to win a championship in his career as the head of a front office, Morey has been targeted by other franchises in the past, most notably the Philadephia 76ers. Despite opting to remain with the Rockets, attention will almost certainly shift to a possible union between Morey and the Sixers should Philadelphia continue to underachieve under current GM Elton Brand.
With Fertitta’s comments linking Morey to an east coast franchise, the rumor mill will only get stronger.