Discerning Morey’s Philosophy 5.1

In parts 1 and 2, I explored Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s transactional history, hoping to draw conclusions from various tendencies.  In part 3, in comparing rumored trades for Caron Butler and Andre Iguodala, I postulated an aversion to long-term obligations, surmising that perhaps a ‘revolving door’ model was deemed best for cost efficiency.  In part 4, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Sam Hinkie offered assistance in understanding an innovative business model employed by the team.

Much has transpired since that last update.  With opening day closing in, I plan to compose a series of informal mini-essays in both assessment of our recent dealings and in response to some prevalent assumptions which have found their way into our conventional wisdom.

When I started this series, I was convinced there existed some staunch set of ideals which guided Morey’s philosophy.  ”Buy low, sell high; never pay market; avoid all long-term obligations.”  As we moved through February down toward our present day, it has become clear that this is not the case.  Morey is not an idealist and is distinct from Billy Beane; Morey has no managerial insistences.

The Rockets general manager is a realist guided simply by tenets of economic efficiency on a case-by-case basis.  ”What is the best route I can take in this instance to maximize production?”

Reports near the deadline unearthed that Morey indeed was willing to take back Samuel Dalembert [in an Iguodala trade], shattering one of my prior presumptions.  The team veered far above the tax line in re-signing free agents Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry, and nearly broke the bank with its acquisition of aging center Brad Miller, a move many would have deemed unfathomable just months before.  They’ve gone “all in” and I never thought that that would be the case.

Also unclear is whether there is a set course for the franchise.  The team has retained, and signed, veterans at or above 30, but was also heavily rumored to be in pursuit of Ricky Rubio and Demarcus Cousins, acquisitions which would surely have indicated the onset of rebuilding.  Most teams forcibly dismantle, trading productive vets because it seems like the logical course; in Houston, is there just a belief that “we’ll bide our time competing until an opportunity to get younger appears and then we’ll re-evaluate”?

And what of the ‘buy low, sell high’ theory of trade?  The team cashed in on forward Carl Landry, but took the opposite course with Scola.  In fact, Morey apparently did try to sell high on Scola, dangling him in deals for Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh before turning around and inking him to a new deal.  Evaluate each case on an independent basis, respective of present circumstances.

Finally, and perhaps most curiously, is Morey even completely wedded to quantitative analytics?  By most accounts, Carmelo Anthony is amongst the least efficient ‘stars’ in the league, yet the most reputable of sources all reported the MIT grad to have interest in a trade.

What we’ve learned since we last left off is that in regards to personnel management, there is really no set policy. The sole consideration is to simply not waste money.  Don’t pay Ariza $6million when Lee comes at 2. Get the most bang for your buck through independent evaluation of each event.

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