9:55pm: The Rockets interviewed Messina on Saturday, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated relays (on Twitter).
9:15pm: Sixers associate head coach Mike D’Antoni has a second interview scheduled with the Rockets regarding their vacant head coaching position, Marc Stein and Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com report. D’Antoni, whose stock is rising in the eyes of Houston’s front office, will sit down with franchise owner Leslie Alexander after impressing the team during his first interview, the duo note.
The offensive-minded D’Antoni doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of the strong defensive coach that Houston is reportedly seeking, and the team would look to hire a coach with strong defensive credentials to serve as D’Antoni’s defensive coordinator if he is hired, Stein and Watkins add. D’Antoni, the 2004/05 Coach of the Year, has an overall record of 455-426 in the regular season as a head coach.
Houston has also interviewed former Cavs coach David Blatt, former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas, current Rockets assistant coach Chris Finch and TNT analyst Kenny Smith, Stein and Watkins note. The Rockets also have expressed interest in former Pacers coach Frank Vogel and Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina.
Jeff Van Gundy has received strong support from Rockets GM Daryl Morey for the position, but Alexander has yet to be fully sold on a reunion with the ESPN analyst, who has been away from coaching since he and Houston parted ways back in May of 2007, Stein and Watkins relay.