Rockets Notes: McHale, Howard, Van Gundy

Former Rockets coach Kevin McHale believes Dwight Howard, who is poised to be a free agent at the end of the season, may have lost a step on the offensive end, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle passes along. “If you throw it down to him on a steady diet, the poor guy just can’t get down low and move any more,” McHale said on SiriusXM Radio. ” I think that back bothered him, his hips are tight from that and he just wasn’t the same player. He’s worked hard on it. The kid does work hard on his physical conditioning and trying to get healthy and stuff. But he is not what he used to be down there in the low post.”

Here’s more out of Houston:

  • Jeff Van Gundy appears to be the Rockets‘ top target to be their coach next season, but he is unwilling to talk to the team while a coach remains under contract, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Houston has J.B. Bickerstaff under contract through the end of this season and the team is currently down 2-1 to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
  • The Rockets have dealt with chemistry issues during their disappointing season, but the players weren’t confrontational with each other, which was likely due to the their personality types, writes Michael Lee of The Vertical. James Harden has received criticism for not taking a greater leadership role, but his teammates don’t see validity in those claims. “You just see him trying to get better, trying to make this team better,” Trevor Ariza said. “He continues to come to work every day. Plays the same way. Plays hard every day. Puts in extra work.”

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