Rockets GM Rafael Stone
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

Rockets extend Rafael Stone and Eli Witus with multi-year deals

Published April 16, 2024 at 4:54 PM

In a pivotal move during a season marked by significant progress, Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone was granted a multiyear contract extension earlier this year, as sources disclosed to ESPN on Tuesday. This decision comes as a recognition of the transformative efforts and successes that Stone and his team have orchestrated within the organization.

Under the ownership of Tilman Fertitta, both Stone and his assistant GM, Eli Witus, have been rewarded for their effective strategies in team building and player development. Their accomplishments include the astute drafting and nurturing of promising talents such as Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, and Amen Thompson, alongside strategic free agent acquisitions like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks. Additionally, their pivotal hiring of coach Ime Udoka has been instrumental in reshaping the team's dynamics.

The Rockets have seen a remarkable improvement in their performance, leaping from a mere 22 wins in the 2022-23 season to achieving 41 wins in the 2023-24 season. This surge in victories is largely attributed to Udoka's influential leadership, which has significantly expedited the development of the team's young roster. The impact of Udoka's coaching, combined with the strategic off-season signings of VanVleet and Brooks, propelled the Rockets to experience the league's most substantial turnaround this season, achieving a .500 season while relying heavily on a youthful lineup—all contributors under the age of 22.

Stone's rise to the general manager position in 2020 followed Daryl Morey's exit to the Philadelphia 76ers. Witus ascended alongside him, marking a new era for the Rockets' front office. Stone's tenure began amidst challenges, notably the trade request from star player James Harden. Demonstrating decisive leadership, Stone navigated this situation by trading Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for expiring contracts, three first-round draft picks, and four first-round pick swaps, setting the stage for the team's current and future rebuild.

This extension is a testament to Stone's and Witus's visionary leadership and the promising direction in which they are steering the Rockets, highlighted by their proactive approach to team management and talent cultivation.

Source ESPN : Sources: Rockets GM Rafael Stone extended on multiyear deal
Source RealGM : Rockets Sign Rafael Stone, Eli Witus To Multi-Year Extensions
April 16   |   11 answers
Rockets extend Rafael Stone and Eli Witus with multi-year deals

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