Jonathan Feigen: Never rule out a bold move, but the most likely avenues are with the mid-level exception and minimum contracts. They could have as much as $9 million of mid-level money to spend, though given what that would take under CBA rules and the roster constraints that would bring, it is much more likely they operate with the $5.7 million exception. Though spending the exception money would push the Rockets back into the luxury tax, general manager Daryl Morey has already been given a green light to pay the tax, a person with knowledge of the team’s planning said.
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“Gersson has been an unbelievable person to work with,” Morey told ESPN. “He’s been way overqualified for his job for a while here. He’s more than earned his shot, although I wish he would’ve gone East. We’re going to have an extremely tough competitor in the West. Minnesota is going to find how forward-thinking, how hard working and how talented he is at putting together a winning team.”
Jon Krawczynski: The Minnesota Timberwolves are moving forward with plans to hire Gersson Rosas as president of basketball operations, league sources tell me and @Shams Charania
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Minnesota Timberwolves are hiring Houston’s Gersson Rosas as the franchise’s next President of Basketball Operations, league sources tell ESPN.
The Wizards have officially begun the interview process to replace former president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld. Rockets VP of basketball ops Gersson Rosas is currently in Washington with plans to interview for the job, league sources tell The Athletic.
Mark Berman: From the #Rockets: pic.twitter.com/fbSmO6KFmv
Salman Ali: The Rockets announced that the team has promoted Rafael Stone to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Counsel, and Eli Witus to Assistant General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.
Other top candidates include Brooklyn’s Sean Marks, whose roster upgrades without the use of high draft picks got the team back in the playoffs; Houston’s Daryl Morey, last season’s winner who retrofit his roster on the fly during this season; and Denver’s Tim Connelly, whose team moved from outside the playoffs to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Industry estimates suggest Morey’s recent contract extension from the Rockets pays him in the $8 million range annually. Johnson was earning an estimated $10 million as the Lakers’ team president. Given the TV riches that the Lakers bring in, Buss could presumably double those figures in a pitch to the game’s elite executives.
As The Times reported last July, Philadelphia made an ambitious attempt at trying to hire Daryl Morey away from Houston — and I’m told Philly also commissioned a clandestine run at prying Myers away from the Warriors that was likewise rebuffed.
Jonathan Feigen: Timberwolves have also asked for and received permission to interview Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas, per source. Rosas has been a candidate for several positions the past few seasons, but this could be an ideal fit.
Jonathan Feigen: Posting in a few minutes, Rockets reach an agreement on a five-year contract extension for general manager Daryl Morey.
Morey, 46, had been in the final year of his contract in the second season with Tilman Fetitta owning the team. “I’m super happy,” Morey said. “I’d love to be with the Rockets for life. This obviously solidifies us for a little while. I’m just really thankful to Tilman Fertitta for having the faith in our team. And really, it is about us having a team of people that makes this all work; Coach (Mike) D’Antoni, (vice president) Keith Jones, (vice president) Gersson Rosas, (trainer) Jason Biles, (assistant general manager) Monte McNair, (assistant general manager) Eli Witus, (assistant general manager, Vipers GM) Jimmy Paulis. “We have too many people to mention, but I’m only as good as the people behind me.”
The Rockets picked up their option on the final season of D’Antoni’s contract, keeping him under contract through the 2019-20 season. But Morey said he would like to work on an extension for D’Antoni in the offseason. “He’s such a critical factor,” Morey said. “Speaking for myself only, I would love for him to be here for as long as he wants to be here. He’s so critical to everything we’re doing here. Hopefully, that’s something we can work out at the right time. I think the right thing for everyone is those things are done in the off-season.”
Salman Ali: Austin Rivers: “As much as you hear about how much freedom Mike (D’Antoni) gives…you don’t really understand it to you’re here playing for them just how much fun this team has on the floor…. It’s a great environment that Daryl (Morey) and coach (D’Antoni) have created.” pic.twitter.com/9a23nQAMtZ
So to that point, we’re about a month from that (trade) deadline. What kind of outlook do you have when it comes to how active you might be? Daryl Morey: Yeah, we’re for now (in terms of their mentality). So what do they say — buyers vs. sellers? We’re definitely a buyer. …I think we’ve been trying to win the title for a while, and we had a couple years before we got James where we probably didn’t have as much of a chance to win, where we were probably a little more future focused. But since James has been here we’ve been buyers at the deadline and hopefully something comes along that we think can help our chances to win the title. We’ve had a few years where we don’t, so we don’t force it, but we’re going to be looking for something to hopefully upgrade the team.
Salman Ali: From Daryl Morey’s Instagram Q&A: pic.twitter.com/tBoUWdsfOy
Houston is primarily focused on acquiring wing talent, sources said. Their trade market intensity last week, in the midst of their winning streak, was described by one source as “not in emergency mode, but not sitting back either.” In regards to Washington, Markieff Morris, Jeff Green and Kelly Oubre Jr. would fit the bill here. Morris and Green put on a rather impressive audition for Daryl Morey, who attended the game in D.C. The salaries are doable from a trade standpoint, around $9 million for Morris and $2.3 million for Green.
Marc Stein: More from the pregame media sessions in Houston: Rockets GM Daryl Morey said “a lot” of the team’s struggles to open the season are “on me” and Coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged that management is “exploring all options” in the wake of a 4-7 start
Kelly Iko: Daryl Morey says there could be some fine tuning to the roster ahead of the season, adds that they have their draft picks going forward for flexibility. They’ll always look to improve the roster if the opportunity presents itself. pic.twitter.com/iVTkHtJ9Li
Marc Stein: The Philadelphia 76ers have been rebuffed in their attempt to hire away Houston’s Daryl Morey to take over as their new general manager, @NYTSports has learned
Marc Stein: The 76ers had great interest in Morey — freshly voted as the league’s Executive of the Year — to replace the ousted Bryan Colangelo. But Morey couldn’t be lured away from the Rockets, with whom he has spent the last 12 seasons.
This is one kind of scenario the Houston Rockets envisioned in April, when they proposed before the NBA’s competition committee that the league should start free agency at least a week — and likely more — before the draft. The Rockets are not the first team to contemplate that notion; Mike Zarren, Boston’s assistant general manager, used his very first tweet as a plea to flip the order of the draft and free agency. (The concept is popular across Boston’s brain trust; Zarren noted in his tweet that Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel, sold him on the idea.) Other leagues, including the National Football League, schedule free agency first.
It is unclear exactly how Houston’s proposal would unfold. Rosas hopes to build a calendar not so different from today’s version: free agency commencing in late June, the draft around July 10, and the start of summer league perhaps a week after that. But that would push the NBA’s calendar back by at least a week or 10 days, and some opponents of Houston’s proposal fear an NBA in which urgent business persists well into August, sources say. Everyone needs vacation. The Rockets have addressed that by building in a two-week window stretching from August into September in which all transactions would be banned — a new moratorium.
Royce White: My motivation was to connect some dots on the psychological psuedo-science I was presented with in my pre-draft process. During the discussions with Houston, my management team and I were shocked to discover there were NO FORMAL MENTAL HEALTH POLICIES. In response, I attempted to formalize a written agreement that would modify existing policies to encompass mental health. The proposal we suggested included ALL TEAM PERSONNEL, not just PLAYERS. That proposal was tacitly denied. It was during this time that birth was given to a narrative behind the scenes that I was simply ”AWOL” and non-compliant. This was mostly the work of Daryl Morey and maybe others that I am not aware of. That narrative was untrue and drove me to Twitter and other media outlets to exonerate myself.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston Rockets executive Gersson Rosas has withdrawn as a candidate from the Detroit Pistons GM/senior basketball leadership search, league sources tell ESPN.
The Rockets have built Harden’s supporting cast mainly through trades (Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza) and free agency (P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute), but they hit big in the Draft in 2014 with Clint Capela, taken late in the first round. “Once they landed two stars, they have done an excellent job of surrounding them with enough shooting and toughness,” the West executive said, “along with the continued emergence of Capela who has become a top 7-8 center in the league.”
Jonathan Feigen: Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta: “My family is committed to two things, a championship for the Houston Rockets and a championship for the Houston Cougars.”
That does not mean Morey won’t make a deal. But as the Rockets close in on the deadline, they consider the in-season free agent recruiting that could follow to be at least as likely to bring an addition as the usual trade market. A month since Morey said he thought there was at least a chance that he would go without a deadline deal, Morey said he remains committed to the rotation the Rockets have used to build the second-best record in the NBA. “It’s going to be hard to do anything,” Morey said. “When our guys are healthy, we have lost (once.) Obviously, my job is my job. I’m pretty cognizant I have something special right now.”
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.”
Joel Embiid: Trust The Process
Daryl Morey: @SamHinkie tanking is solved.
Have you had many talks with Tilman Fertitta? Daryl Morey: “Oh yeah. I’ve really enjoyed working with him so far. He’s not the official owner yet, but that will be not too long. He’s going to be great for the city of Houston. I really think people will be extremely happy with him as an owner.”
Daryl Morey on tanking as an NBA-wide problem: “Teams have to go through cycles … What you want to have though is that when a team is in its rebuilding cycle, which every team goes through – we went through it after Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady – you don’t want them to sit around the table and be dreaming of ways [to get worse]. … ‘It’s not good enough to only win 25 games, to actually get the best odds, we have to win 15 games.’ It’s just bad for the league that a team in a rebuilding cycle has to think about ‘Maybe I won’t sign a free agent because, oh my goodness, that might win us a few extra games.’ … When you’re down in that rebuilding trough, you shouldn’t have to dream up more ways to be even s–ttier so that you can get the odds at a top player.”
Daryl Morey on the Rockets’ ability to contend for a title heading into 2017/18: “I’d say we feel much better. We went from feeling not so good – which I think 29 teams in the league should feel like considering the Warriors obviously are the class of the league – to feeling spunky. We’re feeling like if we can pull this together, get our habits right on offense and defense, execute, that we can give one of the best teams of all time a very, very good series.”
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is maybe the NBA’s most outspoken executive. He throws shade at opposing players and owners, jokingly challenges people to fights and can be outright provocative. Active on Twitter, Morey generates plenty of exposure. The league apparently doesn’t always appreciate it. Zach Lowe of ESPN on The Woj Pod: “Daryl gets fined so much more than has ever been publicly reported. Daryl is fined all the time.”
Jeff Goodman: Rockets GM Daryl Morey not done yet, source told ESPN. Harden and CP3. Will try and add a third star to compete with Warriors.
Jeff Goodman: Clippers like the upside of Sam Dekker, the toughness of Patrick Beverly and the short-term contracts of both Beverly and Lou Williams. Source said Clippers will go after a big wing in free agency, and try and retain Blake Griffin.
Chris Broussard: Sources: Jerry West was not in yesterday’s meeting between CP3 and the Clippers.
Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander announced today that General Manager Daryl Morey has signed a four-year contract extension. Morey is now under contract with the Rockets through the 2021-22 season.
“Daryl has consistently proven to be one of the top minds and innovators in our league,” said Alexander. “I’m thrilled to continue to work with Daryl towards our pursuit of winning another championship for the Rockets, the City of Houston, and our fans all over the world.”
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
Atlanta is considering a number of candidates, including Griffin, Joe Dumars, Houston vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and New York Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes, sources said. Altanta is also planning to discuss the GM opening with television analysts and former players Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry, league sources told The Vertical. Houston has granted permission to Atlanta to discuss the opening with Rosas, its No. 2 executive behind GM Daryl Morey, league sources said. New York has granted permission on Hughes too, league sources said.
Harrison Faigen: George Karl and Daryl Morey are here to watch the D-Fenders take on the Valley Vipers
Justin Kubatko: The @HoustonRockets James Harden is the second player in NBA history w/ 2000+ pts, 500+ reb, & 750+ ast in a season. Daryl Morey: If we might make someone MVP because they have hit a random combo of numbers then why not this random combo?
“It’s hard to judge because it takes two. It’s hard to know,” Morey said. “I don’t know if it makes it more or less likely, but the kinds of things you do are different. We are more likely to shore up a spot in case we take an injury. Anything we would do is more likely for depth.” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander was even more non-committal. “We’re always looking to improve, always,” Alexander said. “You can say that now and for the next 10 years.”
The moves marked an undeniable pivot. Sources familiar with the process say Houston’s owner, Leslie Alexander, assumed a larger role in the team-building process, and that he was eager to rebound at any cost from the malaise of last season.
The moves signaled Morey’s position may not be quite as secure as it once was, league sources say. The dismissal of Gianluca Pascucci, Houston’s former vice president of player personnel and a Morey confidant, was widely seen as a shot across the bow at Morey. Morey says the decision was his, and the Nets quickly snapped up Pascucci after several teams expressed interest in him.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey defended his protégé, former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, during a recent appearance on Yahoo Sports’ “The Vertical” podcast hosted by Adrian Wojnarowski. Wojnarowski asked Morey for his perspective on Hinkie’s departure from the 76ers after team brass (and NBA officials) decided they had waited long enough for Hinkie to fix the team. Specifically, Wojnarowski asked Morey if he received criticism because Hinkie had become a pretty polarizing figure in the league and whether Morey was judged because of Hinkie’s struggles.
Morey on Hinkie: I wanted to take hits for him. The reality is, when he took over Philly, he took the approach that was best for the franchise at that time in his judgment, which was that the best way for them to get to be a title contender, given the roster where they were at, was to take a pretty strong dip into the top five of the draft. That has more of a history of success in terms of building a championship contender.
Sources say Jeff Van Gundy has received strong support from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to make a return to Houston for a second stint as the team’s coach, but they maintain that Alexander has yet to be fully sold on a reunion with the ESPN analyst, who has been working in television since the sides parted ways in May 2007.
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.”
After giving general manager Daryl Morey a vote of confidence earlier this week in an interview with Fox 26 TV in Houston, Alexander said Morey will assist in the evaluation process to improve a team that crashed from 56 wins last season to 41 this season. This season, Alexander fired coach Kevin McHale after 11 games and the Rockets clinched the last playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. “We definitely thought we would have a much better team,” Alexander said. “We didn’t play well for the first half and we let a lot of games go by and also James (Harden) won a lot of games. It takes its toll on somebody.”
Alexander said a recent ESPN report that said general Daryl Morey “faces some uncertainty” about his future is not accurate. “There is no uncertainty,” Alexander said. “Daryl is with the team. We evaluate everybody, but right now things aren’t changing. “There’s no uncertainty about his future.”
Sources told ESPN that the Rockets believe every aspect of the organization — coaching staff, front office and, of course, their roster — must be subject to a thorough review in the wake of Houston’s slide to a 38-41 outfit that’s at serious risk to miss the playoffs after damaging losses this week to Dallas and Phoenix.
Sources say Morey, whose contract runs through the 2017-18 season, also faces some uncertainty in the wake of the Rockets’ struggles. Morey’s ever-bold approach to roster assembly won deserved kudos for bringing Harden (October 2012) and Howard (July 2013) to Houston in quick succession, but team chemistry has been a rising concern this season given the well-chronicled deteoriation in the Harden/Howard relationship and the failed offseason gamble on guard Ty Lawson.
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Vlade Divac and his team have placed an emphasis on improving the center position, but according to a league source, while the team holds Nikola Vucevic in high regard, the team is not expected to chase the Orlando Magic big man in free agency, despite reports to the contrary.
“I think for us, there is nothing more that we can do. We’ve done it. The city has done it. This franchise had done it. The coaches have done it. My teammates have done it. We’ve done our job. The best way to recruit somebody is to just be yourself over the course of the year, and I would assume that he knows what is here and what makes this place special,” VanVleet said at the team’s first media availability since winning the NBA title. “If it’s enough than it’s enough. If it’s not then it’s not. … We would all love for him to be back and if he’s not then we will move on from there. It’s not the biggest deal in the world. He came here and did what he was supposed to do. So he brought this city a championship and I think he has earned his freedom and his career to do what he wants to do and we’ll all respect him and admire him.”
The Post reported Saturday that Draymond Green flew to New York over the weekend and was to meet with a recuperating Durant. A source said Green was visiting as “a friend’’ and not a business associate looking to convince him to return to Golden State.
Multiple Nets players and members of the staff tell NetsDaily they believe they’ll be playing with Irving this upcoming season … and not D’Angelo Russell. There’s belief within the organization that Kyrie is nearly a “done deal” and if that’s the case, Russell is unlikely to return.
If the stars don’t align for the Knicks, Mills could take his $74 million in cap space and try one-year deals with some of the better free agents. Or in a long-term deal pursue former Laker and Pelican Julius Randle, whom they like, or take a flier on former No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, who has been an injury-riddled bust.