Rockets GM Daryl Morey hasn’t lost faith in his roster’s ability to contend for a title, notes Jason Quick of CSNNW.com (on Twitter), but he quickly ran out of patience with coach Kevin McHale, citing the lack of time to dally in the rugged Western Conference as he explained the team’s decision to fire McHale to reporters today. Morey hinted at further moves if the club doesn’t improve on its 4-7 record.
“We know this team can win and we are going to make changes until we win,” Morey said, according to Quick (Twitter link).
Houston returns to action tonight against the Trail Blazers. See more from the GM’s visit with the media:
- Morey wouldn’t directly answer a question about whether Bickerstaff would remain in charge of the team for the rest of the season, but he elaborated on his confidence in the interim coach in an interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick. “J.B. is great with players, great with schemes, and he’s been preparing for this his whole life,” Morey said to Amick. “He obviously has a great pedigree, and was critical to our winning over the last four years with Kevin. He ‘architected’ the defense last year that was top 10 overall and top five when Dwight [Howard] played. Job One, really, is we’ve got to shore up our defense, and I believe J.B. can do it.”
- Morey insisted that the team didn’t rush into the decision, even though the Rockets are coming off 56 wins and a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Hints emerged Tuesday, when Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported that he’d heard from sources close to the team who wondered if the players had stopped listening to McHale. Morey had no comment about the team’s struggles when ESPN’s Marc Stein asked earlier this week. “It was tough. This is not something we take lightly,” Morey said today, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays (Twitter link). “This is a decision we thought about a long time. We knew we’re under the gun.”
- The team’s poor record wasn’t the only factor, Morey added, as Feigen tweets. “It’s not just losing. It’s not just 4-7. It’s the way we’re losing, by how much, by how the team is responding,” Morey said.
- Morey lauded the leadership ability of interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, notes Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (on Twitter), though the team is making no promises to Bickerstaff for the long term, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports wrote earlier today.