Daryl Morey (L) and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images

Daryl Morey, the Rockets GM since 2007, has decided to step down, according to a report from ESPN.

Why it matters: With head coach Mike D'Antoni stepping down last month, one of the NBA's most reliably competitive franchises is suddenly in disarray.

The backdrop: Morey's final season became engulfed in scrutiny after a tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters led to China taking the NBA off its airwaves for a year. It finally returned during last week's Finals.

What they're saying: "Morey is not the only analytics-savvy person to assume a position of enormous power within an NBA team. But he was the forerunner," ESPN writes.

  • "His influence on the game — on the rise of the 3-pointer, the advance of metrics to evaluate defense, hiring patterns within teams, much more — has been massive."
  • "It is reasonable to argue NBA basketball is both more mathematically efficient and (with some teams) less interesting to watch because of Morey."

By the numbers: Morey never led Houston to a title, and critics would say he overvalued style and efficiency at the expense of chemistry and culture. But his Rockets were always competitive. In fact, they never had a single losing season.

  • 77 trades: That's how many Morey made in Houston. Only Philadelphia (78 trades), whose former GM Sam Hinkie was Morey's protégé, made more.
  • .615 winning percentage: Only the Spurs had more wins than the Rockets during Morey's tenure.
  • 8 straight trips: Houston has the league's longest active playoff streak, dating back to the 2012-13 season.

Go deeper

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

1 hour ago - Health

Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to aides who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.