Daryl Morey, James Harden

Rockets give GM Daryl Morey four-year extension


Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been more popular outside Houston and with the media — particularly the NBA blogosphere — than inside Houston. They keep hearing about the brilliance but what they saw was a team that was pretty mediocre at best (because the bodies of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming gave out, both pre-Morey guys, but still).

However, this year you really can see progress. Morey finally landed the franchise player he’s been after and some moves like getting Omer Asik are paying off. Barring a collapse now, the Rockets should make the playoffs this season. And their future is bright with plenty of cap space.

So Rockets ownership rewarded Morey with a four-year contract extension, reports Fox Houston.

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander told FOX 26 Sports on Thursday that he and general manager Daryl Morey have reached a verbal agreement on the key components of a 4-year extension.

Morey has one-year left on his contract, so the four-year extension ties him to the Rockets through the 2017-18 season.

“The reason I extended Daryl, I thought he’s done a terrific job in his tenure with the Rockets,” Alexander said. “I think he’s somebody we want to keep around for a long time to help construct the team.”

This time Morey is not only the chef but he got to pick his ingredients on this team, and so far it looks pretty good at 33-29. He should be allowed to see what he can make with it.

But if this soufflé falls things could be very different.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.