Houston Rockets: Takeaways From The Kenny Smith Interview

Oct 23, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Former Tar Heel Kenny Smith and host of Late with Roy Williams at Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Former Tar Heel Kenny Smith and host of Late with Roy Williams at Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the most important interviews for the Houston Rockets concluded this past Tuesday.

Unless you’ve been under a rock or just not a Rockets’ fan altogether, owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey sat down for a three-hour chat in regard to their head coach opening.

Who did they talk to?

None other than former Rocket and TNT basketball analyst Kenny Smith.

This appointment had been known about and scheduled for quite some time and it was essentially showtime for both parties down in South Florida, the preferred venue of choice at Alexander’s home, one of the many he has.

What was said?  Did the Rockets give any indication of a solid offer?

KRIV FOX 26’s Mark Berman had the skinny on some of the high points of the interview and here’s what the Jet had to say about the exchange:

"“I think the interview, all of that process, it goes well,” Smith said. “They have a clear vision of what they want to do. I have a clear vision of what I’d like to do. Sometimes you meet in the middle. Sometimes it doesn’t meet at all, but it was something that we both had to explore, and still exploring."

That quote is interesting and it’s about one thing — POWER.  I’d liken that to Morey being so attached to his business analytics model of building the team, Smith probably wanted Morey to give him a bit more control over the decisions of the basketball operations.

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The relationship between a head coach and GM usually needs to be solid enough to work together and it certainly can be a power struggle between the two and that may be the issue.

I’m sure he asked both Alexander and Morey if he took over this team, what kind of a voice would he have in shaping up the roster.

Smith likely asked for something they didn’t feel comfortable with off the bat and they likely gave him a “we’ll get back to you on that one” response.

Here’s what he had to say about future contact with the franchise about the position:

"“Right now we’re just staying in contact with each other,” Smith said. “Then we’ll see what happens from there."

It’s not too surprising that Smith said this as that’s what every interviewer says to the interviewee.

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But I would take it as the Rockets are actually considering Smith as a candidate but are taking their time and leaving their options open.

Smith on his current situation and what it would take for him to leave from it:

"“I have a heck of a job right now at TNT, that I’m extremely happy with. So there’s got to be a lot of parameters on both ends to make things happen.”"



That’s what it ultimately comes down to — the Rockets have to demonstrate to him that they want him in their open position and they’ll have to compensate him better than what he makes at TNT.

Smith and the rest of the Inside the NBA crew just signed multi-year — likely multi-million dollar — extensions around this time last year.

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  • He’ll want some security as well, not some shoddy two-year deal that shows no kind of loyalty.

    But we know Les and that’s not how he rolls so if a deal were done for Smith, I’d envision as one we’d all be proud of and alleviate any concerns of his job security right out of the gate.

    And here’s my favorite blurb from the Jet:

    "“I’m a Rocket at heart. This [is] just a step.  I’ve always been interested at some point in coaching. So I’m here. We’re going to see."

    He’s intrigued about going into coaching and is saying that he wouldn’t have taken the interview had he not been attracted to the opening.

    I absolutely love the first part of that citation as well, allowing me to reminisce about the good ‘ole days during the Rockets championship run.

    In fact, it was the title of Rudy Tomjanovich‘s 2007 book — an important fixture of those teams and a book that I read cover to cover — that explains those said experiences during those years.

    I’ve already given my take on why the Jet should be the next Rockets’ head coach.

    And there’s no models or statistics or anything I can give you to back up my assertion because he’s never coached before.

    But I would say that he’d definitely continue to uphold the “three-and-D” philosophy that we’ve all come to know as he ran this still of offensive/defensive schemes when he was starring point guard for the Rockets.

    Next: Why Kenny Smith Would Be A Great Coaching Fit

    But that’s the beauty of this potential hire — the relative unknown and likelihood of his success.

    Sometimes you make a move because it just feels right and that’s what the Rockets need to do.

    Come back home Jet.

    Go Rockets.