NBA

Daryl Morey stepping down as Rockets general manager

Daryl Morey is stepping down as general manager of the Houston Rockets, a person with direct knowledge of Morey's decision told USA TODAY Sports. 

The person requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly until the Rockets make an official announcement.

Morey was the Rockets' GM for 13 years, and ESPN reported that Morey approached Houston owner Tilman Fertitta about leaving his post after the team was eliminated in the second round of the NBA playoffs. 

Executive vice president of basketball operations Rafael Stone to general manager is expected to be promoted to general manager, the person told USA TODAY Sports.

The Rockets are also in the middle of trying to find a coach for a team that has All-Star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Mike D'Antoni left after four seasons as the Rockets' coach last month.

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Daryl Morey spent 13 years as the general manager of the Rockets. (Photo: Bill Baptist, Getty Images)

Since 2007-08, the first season of Morey's tenure, the Rockets have advanced to the playoffs 10 times. However, the team never advanced further than the Western Conference Finals (twice, 2015, 2018). Morey won executive of the year after the team went 65-17 in 2017-18.

About a year ago, Morey's support of protesters in Hong Kong — sent via tweet — triggered a months-long standoff between China and the NBA. Chinese state-run television pulled NBA broadcasts from its airwaves. At the All-Star Game, commissioner Adam Silver estimated the losses from the league's business standoff with China resulted in the $400 million range. 

Morey is considered one of the fathers of the modern-day NBA analytics movement, developing an offensive philosophy of taking 3-pointers, shots at the rim and free throws and not much in between.

The Rockets' season ended in the conference semifinals in three of the four postseason runs under D'Antoni. 

ESPN first reported the Morey news.

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