Brooks, Jeff Van Gundy Favorites For Rockets Job

4:04pm: Brooks is currently meeting with Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld, who is trying to reach an agreement with the coach this evening, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.

3:11pm: The Wizards have intensified their pursuit of Brooks with the hope he can be signed prior to the Rockets post opening up, Stein relays (Twitter links). Houston is hopeful that Brooks will hold making a decision until their playoff run is complete, Stein adds.

12:43pm: Scott Brooks and Jeff Van Gundy are co-favorites for the Rockets head coaching job, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Wizards are reportedly the front-runner for Brooks, but Houston is optimistic that he’ll wait until its playoff run is over, Stein adds. Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of The Vertical earlier identified Van Gundy as the top candidate for the Rockets gig, but it appears Brooks is on the same level. Houston still hasn’t formally decided the fate of interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who reportedly enhanced his chances of keeping the job when the team clinched a playoff berth on the final night of the regular season, but the latest news seems to cast significant doubt on his return.

Brooks is wary of the uncertainty surrounding Dwight Howard‘s player option, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported, even though Howard has long been expected to opt out. Stein reported earlier that the Rockets were second only to the Wizards among the options Brooks was considering but pointed to Houston’s focus on the playoffs as a disadvantage. The Rockets are down 2-0 to the Warriors in their first-round series and could be eliminated as soon as Friday’s Game 4. The ex-Thunder coach knows James Harden well from their time together in Oklahoma City, and Kevin Durant remains a fan of Brooks.

The Rockets, like many teams, had interest in Tom Thibodeau, as Stein relayed last week, but Thibodeau is apparently finalizing a deal with the Timberwolves. That cuts off a route to a job for Van Gundy, who had reportedly been a co-favorite for Minnesota. Van Gundy, who still lives in Houston, last coached in the NBA with the Rockets in 2007.

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