Rockets GM Daryl Morey On Luxury Tax: ‘Judge Us By Results’

Morey’s tired of criticism the Rockets move to avoid the luxury tax

Brandon Scott
April 03, 2020 - 1:35 pm

(SportsRadio 610) -- There is no doubt the Houston Rockets make strategic moves to avoid the luxury tax. 

For some time, the most polarizing example was not signing Trevor Ariza to a new deal after the 2017-18 season, when the Rockets were one game away from an NBA Finals appearance. 

Ariza’s defense and 3-point shooting became something the Rockets spent the next two years trying to adequately replace. 

In the latest cost-cutting scenario, the Rockets traded Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal which ultimately brought them Robert Covington. 

The difference in their salaries ($12.1 million for Covington; $17.5 million for Capela) allows the Rockets more cap flexibility. 

In a Q&A with the Houston Chronicle, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said the team was “over-weighted at the five spot.” Trading Capela not only matched their stylistic vision, but also allows them to spend money at positions they value more.

Morey’s tired of criticism the Rockets move to avoid the luxury tax.

“Judge us by results on the floor,” said. “I honestly don’t get the focus on what owners around the league are spending. Pretty much every owner is spending … right around the luxury tax line. That’s where we’ve been literally my whole career. Nothing’s changed. That’s how every team operates.

“People want to criticize and say we shouldn’t have done a trade because they like the player that went out more than the player we got, that’s fine. I personally don’t understand the focus of marginal moves or whether teams are slightly over or slightly under a certain line. Judge us on results. Judge us on how good we are and have operated since I’ve been here.”

When the NBA suspended its season March 11 due to the coronavirus health crisis, the Rockets were sixth in the Western Conference standings and had just recovered from an ugly four-game losing skid.