Houston Rockets: Determining Mike D’Antoni’s likely future with team

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets appear to be in ‘fire sale’ mode. What’s going to be the likely future of Mike D’Antoni with this team? Let’s examine the inevitable.

The Houston Rockets‘ offseason saga continues and it storylines keep getting juicier with each day that passes.  I don’t think I’ve witnessed a period riddled with so much uncertainty in quite some time, if ever.

For the most part, Houston Rockets‘ fans knew what they were going to get the following season with possibly a few tweaks to what they have.  But for the first time in goodness knows how long, the team is going to overhaul its roster yet remain competitive for an NBA championship.

For the past seven years, we all knew that James Harden‘s position on the roster was relatively safe but with the latest that’s coming out of 1510 Polk, that’s not necessarily the case.

Daryl Morey has made the entire roster available to flip and that’s a different stance that was taken than in previous seasons.

It’s clearly obvious that the voice of the new ownership in Tilman Fertitta has officially arrived and he wants results from the significant investment — $2.2 billion by the way — that he has made on the Houston Rockets, buying them from long-time owner Leslie Alexander back in late 2017.

Although the shock still has yet to resonate with me in regard to how the Houston Rockets were run in the past, there’s no question that I’m lending my support to a new approach to making this franchise even more successful than it already is.

And speaking of approach, the Houston Rockets have ended contract talks with Mike D’Antoni, who is going into his final season off a four-year, $16 million deal that he signed before the start of 2016-17.

D’Antoni, 68, as well as his agency representation, didn’t necessarily agree to a what was reported as an incentive-laden deal as he was looking for more of a guarantee to solidify his financial footprint within the pact.  He rejected the team’s offer of a one-year, $5 million extension with an additional $1 million per playoff round that he wins.

This means that D’Antoni still has to build a staff with the notion of whomever he hires could be in for a short, one-season ride and that will be a hard sell for an assistant coach looking for work.  Now D’Antoni may have a shot at a young, ready yet wet-behind-the-ears assistant that’s just looking to progress their career but that’s it.

But that’s it — the guys he trusts that are in his Black Book that he has assembled through his career, won’t be willing to latch on for short-term and he could have a problem bringing the help he needs.

The Houston Rockets have stripped D’Antoni of his assistant coaches outside of John Lucas, Brett Gunning and Matt Brase and have made it very difficult for him to assemble a staff.  It’s almost as if he’s being forced to take the offer the Houston Rockets made in order to keep coaching.

Although D’Antoni did mention that talks will resume likely later through the offseason, I don’t

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think they’re going to budge on their stance.

If this isn’t something D’Antoni will cow-tow to, I would recommend that he resigns as he still remains toward the top of the list as one of the NBA’s greatest offensive minds.  He doesn’t have to take this crap but I think because of his sheer love for the game, he really wants to get something worked out with the Houston Rockets.

Although I’m a fan of D’Antoni’s offensive ingenuity and his calm, cool, collective demeanor, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to a coaching change.  They just better find a counterpart that’s as just as good as he is; if not, they need to retain his services and come to a solution at the bargaining table.

I’m hoping for what’s best for this franchise, regardless of when the final decision will be made with the head coach.

dark. Next. Rockets: Harden and Paul conflict should invoke changes

Let’s keep our eyes open!

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