Daryl Morey is Playing With Fire

As I wrote earlier this week, everyone was on bated breath trying to figure out who the first player to make their move would be. It soon became clear that Lebron James was the stoppage in the pipe known as free agency, which likely had direct implications on the future of  Chris Bosh. Bosh’s agenda seemed clear before Friday: LeBron goes, I go to Houston.

Heading into Friday, Houston’s biggest hurdle was finding a landing spot for Jeremy Lin’s hefty contract after the Sixers talks cooled off. In stepped the Lakers, who took Lin and a future first round pick. All was set for Chris Bosh to become the newest Rocket. My, how plans change.

With that, the liver shot to Rockets GM Daryl Morey was delivered, dashing dreams of Bosh becoming the stretch four Houston was in dire need of. Who knows exactly what Reilly said or the angle he used to secure Bosh. The important thing for the Heat is he’s back and not leaving Dwyane Wade high and dry.

The only one high and dry is Daryl Morey. Houston radio personality Matt Jackson put it best:

Morey’s style is a double edge sword. While aggressive and ambitious, moments like these show how vulnerable it can leave him if just one thing goes wrong. But if there’s one thing Rockets fans can agree on, it’s that they wouldn’t have it any other way. Morey has worked hard since assuming the role in 2007 and never let the Rockets fully tank like most franchises. Even before Harden/Howard and after Ming, McGrady, the team went a respectable 34-32 with Kevin Martin as the team’s best player.

Maybe this is some sort of karma tilt after getting James Harden and Dwight Howard in consecutive off-seasons. This was added injury to the insult of Chandler Parsons signing a 3 year/$46 million offer sheet with Dallas. Not that Houston should be seen as a victim here- far from it. Morey and his people knew not picking up Parsons’ option was a risk in itself. The rationale was that next year if he was unrestricted, they could risk losing him without being able to do anything about it. Makes sense, but still allows for the ordeal to turn into a monkey wrench of sorts.

Morey is simply a man with a plan, at least that’s what Houston fans are hoping and praying for. It’d be highly unlikely he’d leave himself wide open by trading Lin and a first round pick to the Lakers with the chance of whiffing on Bosh. And if he did, thinking Bosh was a sure thing? Shame on him.

The scary part? It could get worse.

After the heartbreaking Bosh news was found out, the Rockets were still on the clock with a 36 hour window to add a key free agent then match the Mavericks offer sheet for Parsons. If they somehow cut it close and miss on Parsons, the team would be without its third, fourth and fifth best players from last year (adding in Omer Asik to the Pelicans).

Now the pressure is on. If it comes close to Saturday night or Sunday morning, Houston needs to give up the pursuit of a third star and lock down Parsons. Ironically, he has the same agent as Dwight Howard  and both (if Parsons’ offer sheet is matched) would be free agents in 2016. Hmmm?

The $20 million or so saved for Bosh could now be used to fill out the roster. Re-sign sharpshooter Troy Daniels. Add a point guard (maybe the fan favorite Aaron Brooks?) Also Morey could still get a stretch four in Ryan Anderson from the Pelicans. While not as versatile as Bosh, he can still hit the three and free throws with a consistent jumper.

The one thing that is true now is Morey is under more pressure than ever. Last year’s expectations were met with resounding disappointment after their playoff series loss by way of Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beater. This off-season has just started off rough. Despite the setbacks, you cannot count out such a creative and intelligent GM as Morey. He’s known for his unique analysis and ability to pick players who fit his system- similar to the Oakland A’s of the early 00’s.

That’s what the Rockets faithful is banking on, and with a plenty of cash to spend, Morey is the right man for the job.

 

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