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Is Daryl Morey following the Danny Ainge playbook?

Jul 31, 2012, 8:02 AM EDT

Daryl Morey AP

For the past few years, the Rockets have been stuck in a rut of mediocrity — not terrible, fighting for a bottom playoff seed and either way ending up with a pick in the middle of the first round somewhere. Not a bad team, not a contender, just a team riding along in the middle.

Daryl Morey is done with that. The Rockets GM is making moves that could make the Rockets instantly very good (trading for Dwight Howard) but more likely very bad in the short term. Gone are Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Courtney Lee, Samuel Dalembert and everybody but Kevin Martin.

Either way, the goal is the same — getting the Rockets the superstar player they need to build around. Peter May brakes it down at the Off The Dribble blog at the New York Times.

Morey, who spent time with the Boston Celtics during the last decade before moving to Houston, is trying to recreate what Danny Ainge did in Boston to acquire Kevin Garnett. Ainge succeeded by developing young players (Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Delonte West) to the point that they became valuable trading chips in deals a month apart for Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007.

“It’s very similar to what Boston did,” Morey said. “Hopefully, it will yield the same result.”

Morey hopes to land Howard with that, or maybe Andrew Bynum from the Lakers in a three-team deal. If not, if they are terrible, the Rockets will have a lot of ping-pong balls in the lottery. They also have a pick from the Raptors next draft.

One way or another, the Rockets are breaking out of the cycle of mediocrity. And that’s a good thing.

  1. dgl1 - Jul 31, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Hey Kurt, “with-malice” (Don) here…

    Except that in Morey claiming this publicly, he undermines every young player on the roster he just spent all summer getting. The more and more he says things of this nature, the worse his bargaining position is going to be. If by a very real chance the trades dont come off, Houston are stuck with a bunch of disenfranchised young guys who know very well they were not in the team’s long term plans.

    And the reality is that the recreation of the Boston scenario is extremely unlikely. In his initial years at Houston, the big song and dance was over what a magician Morey is. Now that it’s been years of finishing in the middle rungs of the NBA (the absolute WORST place to be), I now believe that everyone’s afraid to call Morey out.

    So while everyone’s singing his praises on his dice rolling, I remain singularly unimpressed.

  2. dylude - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Morey is playing chess and getting “checkers criticism” from ppl who can’t see the bigger picture. Ainge didn’t make Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett available, he got lucky that they were and had the pieces to make it happen. Morey can’t dictate when Dwight will be available, but he has the best pieces to get him and likewise Bynum.

    I’m sure some “checkers criticism” will come in the comments section of this post.

    • therealhtj - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      Doesn’t matter what game he’s playing – none of the high powered pieces have any interest in playing on his board.

      • drunkenjunk - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        give this man a prize, he just killed it.

  3. londonaiooo - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    It’s nice to see an organisation go for a high risk/high reward play. The point of the NBA at the end of the day is to win the title, so it’s important to try and follow a route you think can get you there. It worked recently with the Celtics and the Heat, so completely worth a shot. Hope it works out, though at this point if I were Morey I’d be looking to swipe Bynum over Howard, he seems like a disaster waiting to happen in Houston.

    • skinsfanwill - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      Ask Dallas how that “high risk -high reward” method is working for them.

      • londonaiooo - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        Well they recently won a title, still have their best player and have plenty of cap space for the future, on top of a probable playoff team this year. I imagine they’re feeling pretty good about it.

  4. omie34 - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    As a houstonion I honestly hope daryl stays with this young core of the 3 rookies we just drafted plus jeremy lin, asik, chandler parsons, patrick patterson, and marcus morris. They’re all young and talented and at least half of them will be all-stars one day. If they can strike a deal for dwight and another star to go with lin fine but giving up all our young assetts for just dwight isn’t smart. Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin aren’t winning a championship alone. We’re in a great position to rebuild on the fly with lots of young talents, picks, and flexibility I wouldn’t trade that for anything but an obvious championship contender

    • therealhtj - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Other than China stuffing the ballot box for Lin, there isn’t an all-star among them.

  5. omie34 - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Oh and add montejunas to that list

  6. mdp44 - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    At least we have the texans, cuz every other team in this city sucks

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