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Reactions To Rockets Firing Kevin McHale

The Rockets fired coach Kevin McHale earlier today and installed J.B Bickerstaff as the interim coach for the remainder of the season. GM Daryl Morey said that he has not lost faith in the team’s ability to contend, and cited the lack of time to dally in the rugged Western Conference as reasoning for making the coaching move. Here’s what is being said around the league regarding McHale and Houston parting ways:

  • James Harden‘s “style” has created tension within the Rockets, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, and while that’s short on specifics, a follow-up tweet from Zillgitt suggests that it’s Harden’s playing style that’s irking some on the team. Still, Harden and Dwight Howard were both upbeat following Tuesday’s players-only meeting, which preceded the team’s coaching change today.
  • McHale admits that his situation in Houston was growing untenable, though he does believe that he could have turned things around, writes Jonathan Feigen of he Houston Chronicle. “We probably had more meetings in last six weeks than in my previous four years here,” said McHale. “It wasn’t working.”
  • The coach understood that a change could be coming after the Rockets’ loss to the Nuggets last Friday, and McHale wasn’t surprised by the team’s decision to let him go, Brian Geltzeiler of tweets.
  • An opposing GM placed the blame for McHale’s departure on Howard and Harden, saying, “A team with James Harden and Dwight Howard as the stars had to fire the coach? Gee, shocking,” Sam Amico of relays (Twitter link).
  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle called McHale’s firing, “preposterous,” Earl K. Sneed of tweets. “It’s very disappointing to hear, but Kevin will be fine,” Carlisle added.
  • Rockets team owner Leslie Alexander notes that it was Bickerstaff’s defensive acumen and the players’ familiarity with him that led to his appointment as interim coach, Calvin Watkins of writes. “We spoke to him and we think he’s a good young coach with a lot of experience,” Alexander told Watkins. “He is on the defensive end which we really need a lot of help on. We have a good offensive coordinator [Chris Finch] so at the same time we have both. J.B. has a good relationship with the players, which I think is very important. If they didn’t know him it would be tough in the adjustment process. Now it’s much quicker.
  • The Rockets appear to have demonstrated conflicting priorities with the team’s coaching staff, continually adding offensive-minded players while eschewing team defense, write Ken Berger of “Is this the first crack in the analytics revolution, where they start hanging the revolutionaries themselves?” [The Rockets] still haven’t figured out chemistry. They keep adding and adding, but none of it fits,” an NBA coach told Berger.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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4 thoughts on “Reactions To Rockets Firing Kevin McHale

  1. McConaughey'sLincoln

    I pray to God the Rockets hire JVG and he brings Mark Jackson to be an assistant. Most obnoxious color team ever. I come away feeling that they’re there purely for the enjoyment of each other. Bad jokes, horrible catch phrases, more bad jokes.. Please lord.

  2. Alex Cabrera

    Rockets are a joke not as much as the Clippers but they are right behind them. They don’t know how to develop chemistry or maintain a controlled environment.

  3. Chuck Myron

    I recall McHale being exasperated during an interview as the Rockets dealt with injuries in the preseason. You could tell at that point that he seemed unusually frustrated. Something went wrong here that I’m sure we’ll find out about eventually.

  4. victor

    as a life long rockets fan i could not be more disgusted by my team … the man has done nothing but win despite never having a chance to gel his team …. constant turnover and constant threat of being traded by a trigger happy gm who seems more like a compulsive shopper then a smart and calculated gm.. the man took us to the door steps of a finals with howard being hurt most of the year and without his starting power foward and point guard but yet by all means fire him 11 games into the next season and claim that this is a choice you thought long and hard about … it is pretty simple i have no doubt that jb bickerstaff was in the shadows lurking to take this job from mchale.

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