Tad Brown, CEO of the Houston Rockets, is stepping down after 19 years with the organization, further signaling the direction the franchise has taken in the post-James Harden/Daryl Morey era. Brown announced the decision on Friday following a 15-year-run as CEO, which came after a four-year tenure as Vice President of Corporate Development.
“It’s time to move on,” Brown said. “It’s time to take on other adventures that we’re looking forward to. It’s been the greatest honor of my professional life to lead this organization. It’s been the ride of a lifetime.
“It was a really challenging fall,” Brown added. “The people who left meant a lot to me.”
The move highlights the fall from grace Houston has experienced over the last year and change. Tilman Fertitta purchased the Rockets for $2.2 billion in September of 2017, ahead of what became a 65-win season that saw Houston lose in game seven of the Western Conference Finals. [The one where they missed 27 consecutive threes.]
Since then, they traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, then Morey resigned and subsequently joined the Philadelphia 76ers — who could potentially win the Eastern Conference — then traded Westbrook for John Wall, and then moved Harden to Brooklyn. It’s been 🎵 All … Bad 🎵 ever since.
The Rockets currently have the NBA’s worst record at 15-45, and, with only 12 games to go, it’s likely they’ll remain there to end the season. The team is 24th in points per game, 26th in defense, 27th in offensive rating and 27th in net rating. They also had a memorable and dubious 20-game losing streak that spanned from February 6 through March 21. They actually began the season 11-10, which included a 9-4 stretch without Harden, but have since lost 4-of-39 games.
To make matters worse, their very next contest is in Denver against the Nuggets, and they still have games with the 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks [twice], New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, and Portland Trail Blazers to end the season, among others. Part of the others: On April 27, the Rockets host the T-Wolves, who have the NBA’s second-worst record at 16-44. The Rockets have at least found something in Christian Wood, who has averaged 21.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game this season and is in the first of a team-friendly three-year deal worth $41 million. They also only traded Victor Oladipo for Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, and a pick swap that will probably be useless, but Olynyk is at least playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 17.8 points and 7.9 rebounds on 60 / 41 / 85 splits. Is he a ‘good stats, bad team’ guy? Yes, but whatever. He’s also a free agent this summer, so this probably doesn’t mean anything since the Rockets may not keep him around anyway. We’ll see how the draft lottery ball bounces for them.