The Houston Rockets parted ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni following the conclusion of the team’s 2019-20 campaign, but it appears the changes will end there. Despite some speculation that the Rockets could also look to make some changes in the front office, that won’t be the case, according to Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. He made it clear that Daryl Morey’s job as general manager isn’t in jeopardy. In fact, his role will be more important than ever as he’ll be tasked with identifying a successor for D’Antoni. 

“Daryl Morey’s job is safe,” Fertitta said on Tuesday, via the Houston Chronicle. “I’m sure he’s going to pick the right head coach.”  

Tilman acknowledged that his own basketball knowledge is limited, but he’s confident that he has the right people in place to make smart decisions for the franchise he owns. 

“It begins and ends with the general manager,” Fertitta said. “You can talk to me all day long. I personally wouldn’t know what coach to hire. That’s why you have a basketball operations team that’s made of a half a dozen people that use all kinds of analytics and experience. They’ll make a recommendation to me. They do about everything. I’m the sign-off guy. That’s it.

“I wouldn’t know how to interview a basketball coach,” Fertitta added. “You want me to go interview a CEO for a company, I’m the first one to tell you I think [I’m] better than anybody else. To be successful in business, and I say this in my book, you better know what you know and you better know what you don’t know. I surely know what I don’t know when it comes to basketball.”

Fertitta might not have much involvement when it comes to picking Houston’s next coach, but he did play a role in how its last one left the team. According to The Athletic’s Kelly Iko and Sam Amick, D’Antoni was rubbed the wrong way when he didn’t hear from Fertitta immediately following the conclusion of the season, and that factored into D’Antoni’s decision. 

Morey is likely relieved he’ll be able to continue on in his current role, but his hands will certainly be full moving forward. Earlier this month, Morey said that retaining D’Antoni was a top priority for the team. Now, he’ll have to switch gears and identify a new coach who he feels can propel the Rockets even further than D’Antoni did during his four seasons with the franchise. For Morey and the rest of Houston’s front office, the pressure is absolutely on. 


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