Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey certainly isn’t afraid to speak his mind, having criticized the NBA’s All-Star voting process in January and calling Iowa State product Royce White arguably the "worst first-round pick ever" during a Q&A with season-ticket holders.
Now Morey is living up to his reputation once again by providing inside details about Dwight Howard’s free agency, Jeremy Lin’s wonky contract and who he thinks is one of the top negotiators among NBA executives.
According to ESPN’s Ethan Strauss and NBA on ESPN, the sign-and-trade deal that sent defensive-minded swingman Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors unnerved Morey, as he thought D12 would choose G-State over Houston:
Apparently the Iguodala trade threw Morey into a panic, as he feared Dwight might sign with GSW— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) February 28, 2014
At that point, Howard had already told Mavs he was picking Rockets, but hadn't told Houston yet, so Cuban thought Morey was taunting him.— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 28, 2014
The mix-up certainly seemed to cause some confusion, as Morey snapped to his plan B of trading for Dirk Nowitzki, having thought Howard was destined to sign elsewhere.
Morey’s inside info didn’t stop there, however, as he also spoke about J-Lin’s poison pill contract.
"That was just changing the game and finding a loophole in the CBA." - @dmorey on negotiating the structure of the Jeremy Lin contract.— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 28, 2014
According to DeAntae Prince of Sporting News, Lin will earn $5 million this season before his contract spikes to $15 million next season. However, ShamSports indicates that the point guard counts for approximately $8.3 million against the cap this year and next—making for a bizarre caveat.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch noted that Morey also dished on one of the NBA's top executives:
Even though the lowly Los Angeles Lakers are trapped in the Western Conference basement, fans can take solace in the fact that Morey holds GM Mitch Kupchak in high esteem.
Of course, even the “top negotiator” couldn’t get his roster under the salary cap in 2013-14, surrendered a bounty of draft picks to the Phoenix Suns for an aging Steve Nash and signed an injured Kobe Bryant to a $48.5 million extension. Whoops.
Morey has provided a refreshing dose of honesty during his tenure as Houston’s GM, but he's still trying to attain that elusive NBA title.