The National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets have promoted its general counsel, who now will also serve as executive vice president of basketball operations.
Rafael Stone, who became the franchise’s GC in 2005, will keep that title in addition to becoming EVP. His promotion was announced Friday, along with news that the team also promoted Eli Witus, who added the title of assistant general manager to his EVP of basketball operations role.
In their new positions, the pair will work closely with Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey “on the draft, free agency, trades, salary cap management and game strategy,” according to a Rockets tweet.
Neither Stone nor a Rockets representative, who did not immediately respond to an emailed request for more information about the promotion, could be reached for comment.
In a statement, Morey said the team recently has relied on both Stone and Witus “to identify winning players and figure out the best method of fitting them into our team.”
“They work wonderfully together providing strategic insight and analysis,” he said. “Collectively, they are on the cutting edge of basketball decision-making and have been key to our ability to put the team in the place we are today. It is important to us organizationally to be flexible and creative as we find ways to add to our roster and these two are at the forefront of that effort.”
Stone, a graduate of Harvard Law School, worked at Dewey & LeBoeuf predecessor Dewey Ballantine before joining the Rockets.
In 2017, he worked on the record-setting $2.2 billion sale of the team from former lawyer Leslie Alexander to casino and hospitality billionaire Tilman Fertitta, along with Rockets associate GC Randall “Clay” Allen, a former associate at Locke Lord, according to a report in The American Lawyer.