Patrick Fertitta says Rafael Stone is final decision maker for Rockets

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

In the aftermath of Brad Stevens moving from head coach to head of basketball operations with the Boston Celtics, an understandable offshoot of the conversation involves the lack of top Black executives. Despite NBA players being overwhelmingly Black, that diversity hasn’t been similarly reflected in the lead coaching and executive ranks.

One exception to that rule is in Houston, where the Rockets have a Black head coach (Stephen Silas), a Black general manager (Rafael Stone), and a female head of business operations (Gretchen Sheirr). All are among the minority, by race or gender, for their position in the NBA. Even so, that hasn’t stopped some from wondering — including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Wednesday — if they’re truly in positions of power.

“You’ve got some people out there saying Rafael Stone ain’t making the final call, even though (Tilman) Fertitta and the Houston Rockets swear that he is,” Smith said. “Okay, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.”

Patrick Fertitta, who is the son of Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and effectively acts as the liaison at Toyota Center between basketball/business operations and ownership, quickly pushed back.

“It is Rafael’s call, always,” Fertitta replied on Twitter.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Stone was promoted to the top role in Houston last fall after the departure of longtime general manager Daryl Morey. Stone had most recently served as Morey’s No. 2 executive in basketball operations.

While some fans and media members around the NBA have disagreed with certain roster moves in Stone’s first year on the job — including the decision to trade James Harden to Brooklyn for a package heavy on future draft assets and light on immediate help — both the Rockets and Stone insist that such a decision is fully his, and unrelated to ownership.

When asked about Fertitta’s role in transactions after the league’s March 25 trade deadline, Stone replied: “No offense to my boss, but he doesn’t really have one, in a deal like this.”

Even coming off a season with the league’s worst record, the elder Fertitta says he has complete trust in Stone and Silas to steer the rebuild. “I can tell you this: I’m going to be patient,” Houston’s owner recently said. “I know my basketball guys know what they’re doing.”

Related

Rafael Stone, Stephen Silas vow improvements in Rockets' offseason

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta pledges patience, backs Stephen Silas and Rafael Stone

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.