The Rockets finished the paperwork for new coach Mike D’Antoni today and are reportedly close to hiring Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen adds that some contract “language” is holding up the deal for Bzdelik, who is expected to run the defense under D’Antoni. Houston will hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon to introduce D’Antoni. (Twitter link).
There’s more news from the Southwest Division:
- D’Antoni will begin to make decisions about his staff, Calvin Watkins posts on ESPN Now. Greg Buckner and T.R. Dunn are two of former coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s assistants who are waiting to hear if they will be retained.
- D’Antoni arrived in Houston earlier today and had kind words for his new bosses and players, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26. On owner Leslie Alexander: “He’s been voted a few times the best owner in the NBA. He continues to be that.” (Twitter link). On GM Daryl Morey: “[He] does an unbelievable job. I’m happy to be able to hopefully assist in it and be a part of it and try to get the job done.” (Twtter link). On James Harden: “He’s one of the biggest threats, period. Just a great player. So really looking forward to it.” (Twitter link).
- Grizzlies owner Robert Pera took an instant liking to new coach David Fizdale during his job interview, according to David Williams of The Commercial Appeal. “I asked him what his goals were for the team, and he didn’t say, ‘Hey, I want to finish in the Top 10’ or anything,” Pera related. “He said ‘Championship.’ … That was one. The second is, as soon as we gave him the job, he’s heading out to the players. He’s visiting [Mike] Conley. He’s setting up meetings.”
- Nineteen-year-old center Thon Maker may be a good draft gamble for the Spurs, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Maker was once projected as a lottery pick, but his stock has fallen because of his unstable high school background and because coaches haven’t seen him play against quality competition. He is now projected to go late in the first round or early in the second round, and the Spurs might consider him too tempting to pass up with the 29th pick.