The Daryl Morey era with the Houston Rockets came to an end last week when the franchise’s longtime general manager came to an agreement with ownership that would see him walk away. Simultaneously a lightning rod for criticism and arguably the league’s single-biggest proponent for an analytics-driven approach to the game during his tenure, Morey’s Rockets won a whole lot of games during his 14 years in Houston, even if the team never was able to get over the hump and win a ring.
The news of his resignation seemingly came out of left field, even if reports indicated it had been in the cards ever since the Rockets’ season ended in the conference semifinals. And after a few days of things being quiet in Houston, Morey took out a page in the local paper in which he thanked the city “for an amazing 14 years” and made it a point to shout out James Harden, who Morey wrote “changed my life.”
Morey, of course, traded for Harden when he was a promising sixth man for the Oklahoma City Thunder, then proceeded to build an offense around him and turned him into one of the most ruthlessly efficient offensive basketball players in history. It is impossible to tell the story of Morey without mentioning Harden’s role in the entire thing, and while both of their futures are going to be fascinating — the former in his next job as he searches for the next Harden, the latter as he plays on a team that is not led by Morey — it’s cool to see how much Morey appreciates the face of his now-former franchise.