Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey has resigned only a year after earning the ire of China and the NBA for supporting the democracy movement in Hong Kong.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stressed that Morey was not fired. Indeed, insiders say that Morey sought out Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta and asked specifically to begin planning an exit strategy.
It was also reported that Morey, who has been GM since 2007, will stay on in an advisory role as the Rockets complete its search for a new head coach, but after that, he’s out.
The Rockets will likely promote executive vice president of basketball operations Rafael Stone to fill Morey’s position.
“Under Morey, the Rockets have the league’s longest consecutive playoff appearance streak with eight — advancing in the Western Conference playoffs in each of the past four years,” ESPN added.
Morey is not leaving ahead of a contract negotiation, either. He signed a five-year extension only last year and was safe through 2025.
Still, Morey ended up as the focal point of the biggest controversy the league had experienced for decades when he made a simple tweet supporting the pro-democracy movement in Chinese occupied Hong Kong last year.
Last October, he casually tweeted, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” And a firestorm soon exploded across the league.
The Chinese government was instantly furious over the tweet and attempted to force NBA chief Adam Silver to fire Morey. While Silver refused to go that far, he did pressure Morey to disavow the tweet and make conciliatory moves toward China.
But, the tweet harmed the league, anyway. Not only with China, but with its American fans who were disgusted that the millionaire players and league officials, and the billionaire owners were so beholden to China — one of the worst human rights abusers in the world — even as they were indulging daily attacks on the U.S.A. and their own fans.
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