Chris Mannix: Expect the NBA to issue a statement tonight addressing the controversy sparked by a tweet from Rockets GM Daryl Morey that expressed support for Hong Kong’s fight for freedom.
Sam Amick: Two sources with knowledge of the Rockets' ownership thinking strongly refute the Ringer report indicating that the GM Daryl Morey's job is in jeopardy as a result of the Hong Kong tweet-China situation. That being said, it's undeniably a mess.
Marc Stein: Echoing what @Sam Amick just tweeted, one source with knowledge of the situation tells @NYTSports that Houston has "no discipline" planned for Rockets GM Daryl Morey in the wake of this weekend's Hong Kong/China Twitter controversy
Daryl Morey: I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives. I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.
Fertitta praised Brown and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, saying he would keep the Rockets management team in place. He and Brown had already spoken about changes great (addressing the NHL potential in Houston) and small (pledging to upgrade the players' dining room.) Mostly, he and his family celebrated a day long anticipated. "It's an unbelievable thing, an unbelievable day," his father Vic Fertitta said. "To see your son do what he's done and remember him as a child, this is just wonderful. He's been a Rockets fan for so many years, I just can't tell you. He's been a Rockets fan as long as I can remember. It's been about as good a story as you could tell."
Mark Berman: NBA sources: #Rockets GM Daryl Morey signed 4-year extension.Had 1 year left. Now tied to Rockets for 5years.Morey not available for comment
Morey has been frequently equated with one of his former employees, recently resigned Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, who was hired in Philadelphia after cutting his teeth in Houston. According to other executives around the league, that’s not an entirely fair comparison. Where Hinkie was fully committed to playing percentages and probabilities while building a team, Morey has had a more deft hand when dealing with agents and other general managers, and with the personalities on his roster.
“Daryl is a guy who can understand where you’re coming from and work out something, be creative, be tenacious, all of those things,” one NBA team executive told Sporting News. “He approaches things with a lot of imagination and understanding of how to make deals work for everybody. With Sam, he was doing his own thing all along. It could be like you were speaking two different languages sometimes. He knew what he wanted, he would tell you, and that was the beginning and the end of the conversation.”
January 16, 2021 | 10:32 am EST Update
Wizards big men Moe Wagner and Rui Hachimura entered health and safety protocols after the next game, Monday’s win over the Suns. The team hasn’t played since. “It was inevitable,” Sheppard said. “The NBA’s been pointing to this period for quite some time that this was going to be very difficult, and they weren’t kidding. Every city that we went to, it just seemed to be more and more — you never want to say ‘we escaped’ or ‘nothing’s going wrong for us yet,’ because you just know, inevitably, something’s going to be your turn. This was our turn, unfortunately. We took a couple punches, for sure. But all our players are in good spirits. (It’s) very important also to consider all of our staff right now is healthy, so we’re very grateful for that. But what’s ahead is going to be day-by-day.”
There is certainly a sect of the NBA that is privately missing bubble life, even if no one enjoys the solitude of it. Numerous people of varying authority around the league have said in casual conversations with The Athletic that the way this season is playing out affects their feelings about returning to a bubble at some point, whether that’s at the end of the regular season or for the playoffs. Major League Baseball, for example, had a bubble in San Diego for the American League playoffs and one in Arlington, Texas, for the National League playoffs and the World Series.
The Kings (5-8) cannot expect to be competitive if the starting backcourt cannot muster more than a combined 21 points and eight assists. “I think that as two of our guys that have been here the longest, that obviously we feel very high about the types of players they are with the contracts, we need the leadership, the voice, the finding a way to bring it every night,” Walton said. “… We’re excited about those guys being two of our main guys but we as a group have to find a way to bring that winning energy every single time we play and step on the court.”
Richaun Holmes, who is in his second season with the team, said the Kings have the ability to do that. “We definitely own up to what we do,” Holmes said. “We hold each other accountable and like I said we’re going to have to pick ourselves up and give a different effort next game. We’re definitely holding each other accountable and that was unacceptable tonight.”
Green once again had a solid game with the Nuggets, where he produced 15 points (5-10 FG, 3-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT) and nine rebounds across 28 minutes in Thursday’s 114-104 win over the Golden State Warriors. “I’ve always said JaMychal is a guy I’d like to play with for the rest of my life. He is amazing,” Jokic said after the match.
Wiseman was keenly aware of what he’d done wrong as Jokic got past him. “Man, he got, like, a lot of tricks,” Wiseman told reporters in a postgame video conference Thursday. “So I just had to make sure I just stayed attentive like every second that I was guarding him. I knew I was supposed to get an arm bar on him, but he got me on the spin move with the and-1.”
January 16, 2021 | 5:54 am EST Update
Instead of sulking with his successor standing on the sidelines in street clothes, Drummond gave everyone — Cleveland’s front office, Bickerstaff, the rest of the NBA — something to think about, even if he didn’t enter the night specifically looking to prove a point. “I play the same way each and every night,” Drummond said. “The trade, it is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about that. If I do get traded, I don’t control that either. I’m just here to play basketball with whatever jersey I have on. That’s all I can focus on right now.”
Bickerstaff also hears the trade chatter. He’s talked with Drummond about it. “The optics are obvious,” Bickerstaff admitted. “But Dre and I have developed a great relationship up to this point. It’s a relationship that’s built on trust and honesty.” Drummond was asked about his reaction to the deal. He used the term “happy,” calling Allen and Prince “very, very good players.” And he backed up those words.