Tilman Fertitta Says Rockets 'Plan on Contending' After Daryl Morey's Departure

Jenna CiccotelliContributor IIIOctober 20, 2020

New Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta before the start of an NBA preseason basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has full confidence in his team as they head into the season without general manager Daryl Morey, who stepped down after 13 seasons in the position and in the midst of an eight-year postseason streak.

"There is no reason to blow up your roster," Fertitta said on CNBC, per the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. "This is still our window, the next couple of years. James and Russell are in their early 30s. We're not blowing up anything. We plan on contending. We're going to do whatever we had to do to win."

Morey announced Oct. 15 that his resignation would take effect on Nov. 1 as he will continue to help the team in replacing head coach Mike D'Antoni, who stepped down in September. 

"He had always said, 'I'm not going to be here forever,' and, 'At some point, I might want to go back to the East Coast,'" Fertitta told ESPN's Tim McMahon. "I didn't think it was going to happen. I knew that this was that year, but Daryl's been here [almost] 15 years. I was surprised, but yet I remembered the previous conversations."

The Rockets have the NBA's second-best regular-season record through Morey's 14 years with the organization, which began when he was hired as assistant general manager in April 2006. The Wisconsin native has engineered 77 trades throughout his time as general manager, second-most in the league since May 2007, including major swaps for James Harden and Russell Westbrook. 

Westbrook earned his sixth-straight All-Star nod this season, his first in Houston, where he joined forces with Harden, a perennial All-Star since joining the Rockets in the 2012-13 season. Houston fell in the Western Conference semifinals for the second-straight year, marking the third such result in four seasons for former head coach D'Antoni. 

According to CBS Sports' Jack Maloney, the Rockets are considered Jeff Van Gundy, John Lucas and Stephen Silas to take over as head coach under Rafael Stone, who will serve as general manager following the departure of Morey.