Houston Rockets exec who expressed support for Hong Kong protests steps down

By , SportsRadio 610

Daryl Morey is stepping down as the Rockets' general manager after 13 seasons on the job.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Morey approached Rockets' owner Tilman Fertitta with the idea of leaving the job after the team's elimination from the playoffs.

The two sides quietly worked on an exit agreement, Wojnarowski reported.

Morey is the architect of some of the best teams in franchise history, especially since the Rockets' back-to-back NBA championships in the mid-90s.

Under Morey, the Rockets appeared in the Western Conference twice, losing to the Goldens State Warriors both times. The Rockets at least appeared in the semifinal round in six of Morey's seasons as GM.

Executive vice president of basketball operations Rafael Stone will be promoted to general manager, according to Wojnarowski, and Eli Witus will be promoted to assistant general manager.

Morey, who will remain in an advisory role for a short time while the Rockets continue their search for a head coach, has not ruled out a future return to the NBA on the team side.

Uncertainty has surrounded Morey's job security since he tweeted support for freedom in Hong Kong, leading to China suspending sponsorships with the NBA.

The move cost the league an estimated $400 million in revenue, and specifically cost Fertitta millions of dollars in sponsorship money.