Houston Rockets: Team should hold off on Mike D’Antoni contract talks

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has reportedly requested a contract extension now. Here’s why the team should hold off on talks. Take a look.

Once again, the Houston Rockets‘ postseason ended with a loud thud and all of us are going to be busy pointing fingers in regard to what in hell lead up to such a disappointment.

The franchise was so close to the Western Conference Finals that they could taste it, especially with the Golden State Warriors losing Kevin Durant late in the third quarter of Game 5.  The guy that they put an infinite amount of resources in game-planning for was now out and this was a unique opportunity for the Houston Rockets to take advantage.

They didn’t as they watched the Warriors single-handily dismantle all that the Houston Rockets worked for this season, despite such a rough start.  They were 11-14 in early December and we were all wondering after such a record-breaking previous season if they were even going to qualify for the playoffs.

The ship got righted and the Houston Rockets ended up grabbing the 4th seed in the playoffs but the fact that this team didn’t take a stand and push themselves to a Game 7 is absolutely unacceptable.

So while the Houston Rockets will be working on how the retool this roster this offseason — particularly the bench mob — ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that Mike D’Antoni has let it be known that he’d like a contract extension.

D’Antoni, 68, is going into his final year of the contract that he signed back in the offseason before the Houston Rockets 2016-17 campaign.  The upcoming season was a team option that they picked up last summer.

"“I’ve let [general manager] Daryl [Morey] and [team owner] Tilman [Fertitta] know that I’m energized to keep coaching — and believe that I can continue to do this at a high level for at least another three years … I want to be a part of a championship here,” D’Antoni told Woj Sunday night."

I actually expected to hear this from D’Antoni, who has expressed to Woj that he’d prefer to enter next season with an extension in hand for a minimum of at least three years.

Here’s the deal — I love D’Antoni but I think offering him an extension at this point would not be prudent and I think it’d be better if these talks were to be completed next offseason or possibly mid-season, depending on how the Houston Rockets start their season.

D’Antoni either has to get motivated to coach defense on his own or find an assistant that can produce the same — or even better results — than ousted top assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik.  That’s the biggest problem with this team, being able to hold their own on the defensive end.

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D’Antoni is an offensive genius and has brought the best out of Harden offensively and has made sure that he’s a lock to be a Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done for his career.  Harden has already solidified that no future member of the Houston Rockets will ever wear No. 13 again.

Kelvin Cato, you had your shot but Harden is a phenomenal player and there’s not one that’s quite like him!

With my careless attempt at some banter aside, I think the Houston Rockets should belay the order that D’Antoni has made and let him coach this last season out.  If the indications are clear that an extension is warranted, they should go on and ink him.

There are concerns that this might frustrate Mike because he’d be considered a lame duck coach but Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta feels differently about the situation.

Here’s what Fertitta said last week:

"“He’s not a lame duck to me,” Fertitta told the Chron’s Jonathan Feigen last week. “That’s just a media term. We’re more concerned with making our team better next year. Mike will be here. I like Mike. I think he’s a very good coach. Players like playing for him.”"

This further demonstrates to me that a contract extension is not necessarily needing to be inked now and this is something that can wait regardless of how it affects attitudes.  It’s nothing personal, this is business and the Houston Rockets should handle it as such.

Holding off on that contract extension puts D’Antoni in a tough spot — if he cries mutiny and

somehow stops giving a damn and lets his team tank — to which I don’t think will happen — then he’ll be fired.  If he does a terrific job, then he will get the extension he deserves.  We’ll see how this plays out.

So that’s my stand — are the Houston Rockets in good hands?

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D’Antoni has coached the Houston Rockets to a 173-73 (.703) record, including 23-16 in the postseason (.589) over his past three seasons as head coach.  He’s just two seasons removed from winning NBA Coach of the Year honors and just one season from leading the team to a franchise-record 65 wins in 2017-18.