Mike D’Antoni tells Houston he is out, will not return as coach
Mike D’Antoni wants to coach next season in the NBA, but that will not be in Houston.
As had been rumored across the league all season, Mike D’Antoni is out will not be returning to Houston as coach next season. His contract is up and he is meeting with Rockets management to tell them he is moving on, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. D’Antoni released a statment through Woj.
D’Antoni leaving is not a surprise, going back to efforts last offseason by Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta to extend D’Antoni’s contract that led to hard feelings on both sides.
Walking away from Houston makes D’Antoni a free agent as a coach. He has been linked to the Pelicans and coaching Zion Williamson already, as well as the Pacers’ open position. Wojnarowski adds the 76ers into that mix.
It also opens up the Houston Rockets’ job.
Jeff Van Gundy has been rumored to be in the mix for that job, but whether Houston can lure him out of the broadcast booth remains to be seen. If not, Clippers assistant and former Rocket player Sam Cassell could be in the mix.
It will fall to Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey — who is not going anywhere — to find someone who buys into his vision of an attacking, small-ball team. With the financial situation of this roster — nearly the entire salary cap wrapped up in just James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Eric Gordon for three more seasons — the Rockets are committed to this style of play for the immediate future. They need a coach who can make it work.