Rockets NBA Title Odds Crash After GM Daryl Morey Steps Down
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The first major front-office move of the NBA’s offseason took place on Thursday and it sent shockwaves through the NBA futures market.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey reportedly stepped down from the position he had held for 13 years. Though the team’s roster, led by James Harden and Russell Westbrook, remains largely intact from another successful regular season and second-round playoff exit, oddsmakers drastically shifted Houston’s 2021 NBA title odds after the news broke.
DraftKings downgraded Houston from +2000 to +3000 and 888sport dropped the Rockets all the way to +3300. It's unusual to see such a dramatic shift in NBA title odds based on a front-office move, but here’s why it happened.
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Why The Rockets’ NBA Title Odds Crashed
It’s easy to look at a ring-less Harden or the failed Westbrook trade and consider Morey’s tenure in Houston a failure. But oddsmakers are singing a different tune and understand exactly what Morey meant to the Rockets.
Under his leadership, which began as GM in 2007, the Rockets had the NBA’s second best regular season record, went to the playoffs in 10 of 13 years – including a current NBA-best eight straight appearances – produced two MVP seasons from Harden and a Coach of the Year in Mike D’Antoni. There’s no denying that, championship or not, Morey’s Rockets have been among the elite of the league the past 13 seasons.
Still, it’s rare to see such a significant jump in odds based on a front-office exit or addition. But Morey has long been known for playing for the present and winning now. He traded for Chris Paul in 2017, flipped Paul for Westbrook this past offseason, and dealt rising star Clint Capela at the 2020 trade deadline because the Rockets wanted to play small.
Since Daryl Morey took over as general manager on May 10, 2007, the Rockets have made 77 trades, the 2nd-most in the NBA over that span. Only the 76ers (78 trades) have made more. pic.twitter.com/gIK5BMoI1X— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 15, 2020
He rarely considered the future knowing how small championship windows were, which may set Houston back in the next few years but was music to NBA betting fans’ ears. Houston was always one wild trade away from becoming favorites and seeing their odds shrink; their title odds last season went from +1000 to +800 after the Westbrook trade.
It’s unknown how Morey’s replacement, Rafael Stone, will handle Houston going forward, but major shakeups could be in play as the team looks to recoup some of its long-term assets lost during Morey’s win-now strategy the past few seasons.
Remember, too, that the Rockets also need a head coach after D’Antoni stepped down following Houston’s playoff loss to the Lakers. All that shake-up in Houston means that the Rockets will be a team to avoid when it comes to title contender future bets in 2020-21, even with the dramatic shift in the wake of Morey’s resignation.