Listen….@dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization. @espn https://t.co/yNyQFtwTTi— Tilman Fertitta (@TilmanJFertitta) October 5, 2019
This was in response to a now-deleted Daryl Morey tweet from Friday while Daryl was in Hong Kong that read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
I’m not about to pretend I am well read on what is going on in Japan/China but essentially people in Hong Kong are protesting a law that would allow extradition of fugitives who are wanted in mainland China, which has led to violent and deadly clashes between protesters and police.
Obviously, the tweet by Morey is a big deal to Fertitta and the business side of the Rockets due to their strong Chinese ties, as the Rockets are essentially China’s “home” team.
However, yesterday Fertitta told ESPN he doesn’t have a problem with Morey and wanted to clarify the team’s position.
“I have the best general manager in the league,” Fertitta told the sports network. “Everything is fine with Daryl and me. We got a huge backlash, and I wanted to make clear that (the team) has no position. We’re here to play basketball and not to offend anybody.”
But then today Chinese sponsors started dropping like flies. The Chinese Basketball Association announced it was suspending business with the Rockets, as a reaction to Morey’s comments.
In addition, Tencent Holdings, the massive Chinese conglomerate that operates as the “exclusive official digital partner of the NBA in China,” announced that it will indefinitely suspend media coverage of anything related to Morey, and is reportedly offering a “switch home teams” option for fans who purchased a Rockets single team plan on China’s version of NBA League Pass. You Fu, a former Rockets reporter for Tencent, says at least one Chinese business has suspended a sponsorship arrangement with the Rockets.
The news of losing millions of dollars of business due to a completely unnecessary tweet by Morey obviously got to Tillman. Which set in motion Tilman Fertitta liking these comments on Instagram of fans/commenters wanting him to get rid of Daryl Morey.
So, this begs the question. Over/Under 3.5 days until Tillman fires Morey?
Personally, I’m taking over. Morey is the best GM in the league. Tillman knows it, he said so himself. But at the end of the day, business is business. And right now, Morey is clearly bad for business.
I think it’s inevitable Morey is gone. However, Tillman will do everything possible to somehow make it work before realizing firing Morey is the only solution to get the Chinese business back.