Rockets Hire Mike D’Antoni As Head Coach

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 1, 2:10pm: The Rockets formally introduced D’Antoni as their head coach at a news conference this afternoon, and confirmed his hiring in a press release. As Calvin Watkins of ESPN tweets, the team introduced Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers as assistant coaches on D’Antoni’s staff.

MAY 26, 4:54pm: The deal will pay D’Antoni approximately $4MM per season, Wojnarowski writes in a full-length piece.

4:22pm: The Rockets and Mike D’Antoni are finalizing a agreement that will make him the team’s new head coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reports (Twitter links). It will be a four-year pact that includes a team option for the final season, Wojnarowski adds. Houston is the only team remaining in the NBA with a head coaching vacancy.

The 65-year-old has an overall record of 455-426 in the regular season as a head coach and was named as the 2004/05 Coach of the Year. With D’Antoni’s forte clearly on the offensive end, the team is looking to bring in a strong defensive coach and is eyeing  Memphis assistant Jeff Bzdelik and former Wizards assistant Roy Rogers, Wojnarowski relays (Twitter links).

The addition of D’Antoni likely spells the end of center Dwight Howard‘s tenure in Houston, with the big man widely expected to opt out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The two reportedly did not get on well when both were with the Lakers and its unlikely Howard would want a repeat of their spotty history, though that is merely my speculation.

The Rockets also met with former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, who is reportedly close to joining the Knicks, former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell and Rockets assistant Chris Finch. Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina are also part of the process, with Messina having interviewed with the team last Saturday. Former interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff and former Rockets guard Kenny Smith were also interviewed, but Bickerstaff withdrew from consideration and Smith was told he was no longer a candidate as the Rockets decided to focus on coaches with either head coaching experience or extensive experience as an assistant. Jeff Van Gundy was also mentioned as a candidate, but he and the team never formally spoke about the post.

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24 thoughts on “Rockets Hire Mike D’Antoni As Head Coach

  1. Lincoln

    I thought D’Antoni and Dwight Howard didnt get along when they were with the Lakers.

  2. CrushCity

    Rockets had a chance to either get a coach who could legitimately get the team to play defense or a young up and Comer but they choose D’Antoni? What an absolute blunder.

    This franchise is doomed as long as Les Alexander is making basketball deciosions. Just sign the checks and go sit in your box.

    This dumpster fire is about to reach new heights.

    • Fair Palmer

      On the contrary, Rockets are doomed as long as Daryl Morey is the GM who makes both management as well as basketball decisions.

      • CamStros

        Morey’s choice was JVG, but Alexander didn’t okay it. Morey has done well during his time in house. The owner needs to let the people that he pays do their job.

      • Wendy

        Myself didn’t want Van Gundy either but probably would have been better over D’Antoni. I would have really loved Silas to have been given a chance. He started to take over as front runner over D’Antoni but the Rockets are idiots.

  3. bowserhound

    The Rockets are like watching the slowest train wreck in progress ever. I like it.

  4. Thomas

    Rockets are doomed what the new hire of D’antoni as coach LES what prompt u to go with D’antonio as coach u should just kept kevin same coach style zero development and defense are offense skills

  5. Sigh. All of those interviews for a guy they’ve seemingly chosen weeks ago. Exactly how are these Rockets supposed to play fast-paced offense?

    • Arthur Hill

      The Rockets will need a roster overhaul to be effective in D’Antoni’s style. They need more shooters and at least one big man who is effective in the pick and roll (and more willing than Dwight to play that way). They may need more than one offseason to get their roster right.

      • So, it’s a retooling at the very least and a rebuilding if things go sour. I wouldn’t mind D’Antoni if the Rockets had a guy like Dragić to speed across the court and look for others but this team needs a ton of work…

  6. robbiecraig

    JB Bickerstaff is a better option than D’Antoni. D’Antoni was only successful in Phoenix, more in part of the talent he had than his coaching ability. He failed with Nuggets, Knicks and Lakers.

  7. Thronson5

    I think he will do fine there with that team if they add another good offensive weapon. Bye by Dwight.

  8. This had to be strategic to make sure d12 didn’t opt in.
    Worst coaching option available. Why can’t we have a long term solution and ride it??? I expected better after all this deliberation. This team is going nowhere. Sad homer fan here.

    • Thronson5

      Honestly, people agree and disagree on EVERYTHING now a days but I truly do think if they can get their guys to buy into his offense they’ll score a ton of points and win some game but they need a center and some other pieces as well.

    • Arthur Hill

      If it’s any consolation, the Rockets under D’Antoni are going to score a lot of points and be fun to watch. Plus, he’s had some very good regular seasons. D’Antoni isn’t the guy to win you a title, but the new product could be very entertaining.

  9. madmanTX

    So many haters here. Obviously not Rockets fans, but so bored with their own teams to come here throwing shade.

    • CrushCity

      Die-hard Rockets fan and this signing was garbage. This team is going to be more of a joke than it already is. Should have just kept McHale if they were going to hit D’Antoni.

    • Wendy

      Rockets fan here and hate this garbage of a signing. I agree this team will be even more of a joke. But hey we can go 0 and 82 or such this upcoming season with D’Antoni

  10. Wendy

    Sorry to say I just cancelled my season tickets till maybe 2021. Maybe then Les will be gone or Rockets will be laughed out of Houston that the move to Seattle to become the new Super Sonic Rockets. Would have liked Silas as thought were moving away from D Antoni but do not think ever did. So Silas can go with GSW now as top assistant. Makes me wonder who will be the assistants as they want someone Defensive minded

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