The Houston Rockets have forced a tremendous amount of change among the coaching staff as Mike D’Antoni’s future remains uncertain. Is he being boxed in?
The Houston Rockets offseason typically involves us wondering what new players the team will acquire to improve but things have been a bit different as of late. The biggest story at this moment is the future of head coach Mike D’Antoni, where there seems to be a shadow of doubt cast moving forward.
This all started when D’Antoni, who is going into the final season of his four-year, $16 million deal with the Houston Rockets, publicly requested an extension for a minimum of at least three more seasons with the team.
D’Antoni is giving us the impression that the team is working to get a deal done where it appears as if the Houston Rockets are taking their time, vetting the process and not necessarily in rush to get those contract extension papers extended.
He has admonished that talks have been ongoing, just not now and that he’s not directly involved in the negotiations, just his legal representation.
D’Antoni’s fourth-year option was picked before the start of last season so he is still under contract for one more season.
However, there have been tremendous amount of changes with his coaching staff. The team parted ways with top assistant Jeff Bzdelik, player development coach Irv Roland, assistant coaches Roy Rogers and Mitch Vanya as well as video coordinator John Cho.
Roland has been Harden’s personal trainer since 2016 and these two have a tight relationship as per a report from NBA Insider David Aldridge.
This leaves just Matt Brase, who has worked his way up through the ranks of the organization, coaching some damn good teams with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the past as well as Brett Gunning, a long-time Houston Rockets employee and a holdover from Kevin McHale‘s staff.
Typically, when an organization feels that changes to be made but does not yet want to get rid of the head coach, they force upon changes like these and now he’ll have to re-assemble his staff. Bzdelik and Rogers have been long-time associates of D’Antoni and he will have to spend this offseason trying to find candidates that will be able to yield results — better than ever — in order for him to earn the extension that he wants.
I’ve already stated that the Houston Rockets should hold off on contract extension negotiations until next offseason but it still remains unclear if they’re going to do that.
All of these actions appear as if the Houston Rockets are putting pressure on D’Antoni by stripping
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of him of his staff and to put him in a position for him to fail so that way they can move forward with a different candidate.
I’ll be talking about this in another post but I know of a likely candidate that could take over the reins for D’Antoni if he decides to hit the road.
Whatever happens in this wild offseason, it’s for certain that men behind motivating this team to reach their full potential will be a bit different, even if it’s the most important man in the center of that circle in the head coach.
This is definitely something that we’ll have to monitor.
Fasten your seat belts…