The Houston Rockets are out of the playoffs courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers. Moreover, the Lakers blew the Rockets in game 5, taking the victory by 23 points. Following the defeat, the biggest concern for the Rockets organization was convincing head coach Mike D’Antoni to stay. Unfortunately, he has decided to leave the organization.
D’Antoni’s current contract expires at the end of the season and he has decided to leave the Rockets. The two-time coach of the year has guided the Rockets to a playoffs berth for four consecutive years.
However, the postseason has been a major issue for D’Antoni’s side. They have failed to advance to the NBA finals each year. According to several reports, the franchise wants to continue with Mike, but the latter has other plans.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski gave a clearer view of the situation, as he reported:
“Houston coach Mike D’Antoni is informing the franchise’s ownership today that he’s becoming a free agent and won’t return to the Rockets next season.”
This is the end of the road for Mike with the Rockets. The team now needs to start looking for other options to fill his shoes. As far as D’Antoni’s next destination is concerned, he could be heading to the Indiana Pacers or Philadelphia 76ers.
Pacers recently fired head coach Nate McMillan after another early playoff exit. The team is on the hunt for a new coach and D’Antoni could bring the offensive mindset to the team that they are lacking right now.
While D’Antoni’s stint finished with the Rockets, reports suggest the franchise could bring back Jeff Van Gundy. JVG coached the Rockets back in the 2000s for four years. However, his first stint with the franchise was forgettable.
In his four years, JVG guided the team to a playoff appearance for 3 out of 4 years. But the team couldn’t accomplish anything and were eliminated in the first round each time. Regardless of the past, according to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Rockets are interested to hire back JVG.
“There have been rumbles in coaching circles for weeks that the Rockets will strongly consider Jeff Van Gundy to replace Mike D’Antoni if they make a coaching change GM Daryl Morey, remember, had interest in rehiring Van Gundy when Houston hired D’Antoni instead in May 2016,” he said.
JVG has a record of 430-318 in his 748 games as the head coach. Furthermore, he has a 44-44 record in the NBA playoffs as well. So, JVG has already proved that he can win games if provided with a good team. But will that be the case with the Houston Rockets?
The offseason is going to be busy for Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Whether he decides to bring back JVG or another candidate, one thing is certain, the Rockets need to make a deep playoff run next year as franchise superstar James Harden is not getting any younger.
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