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Thursday December 15, 2011 5:37 PM

Morey Meets The Media

Rockets' GM discusses the team's whirlwind opening week of training camp

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com




HOUSTON - Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey met with the media Thursday afternoon, taking some time to talk about what has turned out to be a whirlwind opening week of training camp. Morey declined to discuss anything having to do with the breakdown of last week’s trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets, saying, “On the advice of counsel, I can’t talk about it.”

He did, however, express his thoughts on the current state of the team and what follows is a transcript of that discussion.

On where the Rockets stand right now:

I started off saying we’re excited about this team – we still are. We’re going to fight hard. I love what Coach McHale is putting in. We’re looking forward to seeing what we have on the floor the last couple days.

I can just say that Mr. Alexander and I are fighting hard for the Rockets organization and our goal doesn’t change: it’s to continue to make this team better. Mr. Alexander has a history of making moves that try to get us in the position to be a championship contender – that’s what we’re going to still do. We like what we’re seeing with these guys here and we’re going to continue to play hard.

On the plan going forward:

We’re always focused on improving the team through every way we can. As I’ve said many times, we feel like trades and the draft are the best way (to improve the team); we absolutely look at free agents as well. We’re going to continue to look at that. We feel comfortable going into the season with this group. There are some strategic players that we might still be able to add but we feel comfortable with the group we have right now.

On how the failed trade talks affected Houston’s players:

It was an unfair situation for Luis and Kevin and Goran. They were professional just like the rest of our team and we love those guys and I’m sorry they got caught up in it.

On how hard it might be for the team to bounce back after the public breakdown of talks:

Who (cares) how hard it is? No one cares, nor should they. We don’t have any excuses, we don’t care, we’re going to keep fighting and winning, and keep trying to make this team a team the city can be proud of and get it back to being a championship caliber team.

I think we have a lot of young players who might be able to prove something and to get us to the next level. We really believe in many of the guys and we’ve got a lot of talented players and we’re going to need our vets like Kyle, or Luis, or Kevin, or Courtney, or Chase to step up and take it to the next level, and I think a lot of them have that ability, or we need some of our younger players to take it to the next level. Right now, I think we’ve got a good chance that someone on our roster can do that.

On reports that he contemplated stepping down as General Manager last week:

That wasn’t true. No chance. Mr. Alexander and this organization are the best thing that’s happened to me in my life. I would never – I mean, who would leave this job? That’s crazy. I’m going to keep working to make the team better until Mr. Alexander says it’s time to go.

On what his strategy is going forward:

We’re always trying to improve. There’s obviously still some time in free agency, there are still some key people out there we might be able to add, but we’re comfortable with this team and it’s ability to fight for a playoff spot.

On the status of unsigned rookie Chandler Parsons:

Chandler is someone we’re looking to sign, it’s really just the mechanics of the agreement we work with which is why we’ve had a delay in signing him.

On the status of rookie Donatas Motiejunas, who is currently playing overseas in Poland:

We were comfortable with him either coming or playing in Europe. His development in Europe has been very impressive so far; I think he set the all-time Euroleague record for rebounds (in a single game) so we’re pretty excited about him and we’ll see him probably next year.

And 1s: Rockets second-year forward Patrick Patterson has yet to take part in training camp thus far as he continues the rehab and recovery stage following offseason surgery to remove bone spurs in his right ankle. Thursday, Patterson said he’s feeling better and getting closer to returning every day, while discussing the difficulty of sitting back and watching his teammates ramp up for the start of the regular season.

“It’s tough sitting on the sideline being a cheerleader,” he said. “I’m watching my teammates, soaking in as much information as I can so whenever I do make the transition back out I’m not too behind and I understand what’s going on and don’t have to ask too many questions. So for me right now, I’m just trying to learn from the sidelines and support my teammates and encourage them every single day.

"Basically I’m just trying to take my ankle on a day-to-day basis, not trying to rush it. Coach McHale is telling me he wants me back on the court when my ankle is 100 percent; he doesn’t want me to feel any pain whatsoever.”

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