Houston Rockets: Mike D’Antoni still awaiting permission to return to bench

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

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is still awaiting permission to return to the bench to coach in the team’s isolated bubble in Orlando. The latest?

There’s a lot of optimism with the Houston Rockets being enabled to start their season later this month.  Right now, training is underway for the team and they fully expect to be ready to go once the season re-kicks off July 31 where the team will partake in eight games.

I view those said games as a tune-up session for the real season that will start shortly thereafter and that’s the postseason, which is expected to go through the earlier part of the fall season.

They will take on the Dallas Mavericks, their interstate rival, to open things up, followed by featured matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers which are, by far, the most intriguing games that will be on the docket.

Did we think that we’d even be at this point when things shutdown nearly a month ago?  I wasn’t sure if I was going to see professional basketball any time soon and now the league has come up with a plausible plan to ensure they keep all participants safe while they find a means to the end of the 2019-20 season.

The Houston Rockets last finished things off with a 117-111 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves back March 11 and so much has changed since then.  James Harden has slimmed down, Eric Gordon is healthy, Isaiah Hartenstein is no longer a member of the team and Luc Mbah a Moute has finally reunited back with Houston Rockets Red once again.

The biggest concern, however, is if Mike D’Antoni will be allowed to coach in the sidelines in

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Orlando.  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has expressed his concern about those in higher-risk groups participating — D’Antoni is 69-years-old — but Mike has expressed his desire to get back to the bench.

I do feel that if he wants to coach, he should be allowed to as this is his passion and there’s no question that he wants to see his baby — his tweaked small-ball lineup — through.  It’d be a travesty if he weren’t there as this team goes as he goes.

The Chron’s Jonathan Feigen is reporting that he hasn’t gotten the clearance to coach just yet but he feels that the delay is a “good sign.”

He also has said that he will wear a mask while coaching citing that he’ll “do it for my players, coaches and people that I care about.”

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The Houston Rockets will be setting their compass for Florida soon and I’m hopeful that the NBA lets him coach because he’s just as integral to this team winning a championship as Harden as well as Russell Westbrook.

Let’s see how this latest development plays out — go Houston Rockets!