Daryl Morey: Rockets Hope To Keep Mike D’Antoni

Even though rumors of a split have been circulating for more than a year, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told Mark Medina of USA Today the team will prioritize a new deal with coach Mike D’Antoni.

“It’s probably No. 1. That’s a fair way to put it,” Morey said. “We have all our key players signed. I think Mike coming back is super important.”

D’Antoni is in the final year of his contract and his departure seemed inevitable after the organization was unable to get him to agree to a new contract last summer. Owner Tilman Fertitta reportedly insisted on a one-year deal, which didn’t interest D’Antoni.

Morey dismissed the idea of an impending coaching change as “a media creation,” adding that “it’s convenient for agents to focus on it.” There is already speculation that other organizations would be interested in D’Antoni if he doesn’t return to Houston, specifically the Pelicans, whose head of basketball operations David Griffin worked with D’Antoni in Phoenix, and the Pacers, who fired Nate McMillan this week.

D’Antoni is in his fourth year with the Rockets and has led them to a 217-101 record with at least one playoff series win each season. His fate might have been sealed if Houston had lost Game 7 to the Thunder, but they now hold a 1-0 lead over the top-seeded Lakers and the organization and players are expressing confidence in their coach.

“Mike is a guy that gets along with everybody, and it’s all up for the players to hone in and do what we need to do,” Eric Gordon said. “He gives us the opportunity. He’s a great communicator. So he gives us a lot of options that we feel like we need to do.”

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15 thoughts on “Daryl Morey: Rockets Hope To Keep Mike D’Antoni

  1. Reflect

    How convenient to make this statement after the Rockets closed out game 7. Now they will act like they wanted him all along.

    • DynamiteAdams

      Losing in the first round to OKC breaks up teams. You can’t justify an extension with that

      • Reflect

        I’d argue even allowing game 7 is a fireable offense. But then the Houston roster has been flawed for years. So it’s everyone’s fault.

    • x%sure

      And looked in command next game 1! Now they can get away with giving the impression they want him back at all, so as to straighten out any players doubtful and holding off effort. Of course they probably do want him back, just maybe not for five years, and are pleased he is apparently holding up in the Orlando mosh-bubble.

  2. Sillivan

    Playoffs record
    Erik Spoelstra 78-47
    Mike D’Antoni 54-52

    Erik age 49
    Mike age 69

    • Sillivan

      How about deducting LeBron 4 years with Heat?
      D’Antoni usually has 2 superstars or 4 all stars in his team come playoffs time?

      4 all stars
      Nash MVP
      Joe Johnson

      6 years with Suns?

  3. wagner13

    I’ll be one of the first to admit I questioned the optics of small ball, but D’Antoni is proving the system could work in a concentrated series of games.

    The reliance on purely outside shooting proved futile in the past, but it seems the Rockets are finally focusing on establishing a defensive culture. Tucker is playing his heart out, while Covington has vastly improved the post defense. Perhaps most surprising is Harden’s tenacity. While he’s certainly not an elite defender by any means, even a slightly above average output is invaluable compared to the lackluster effort he displayed in years prior.

    I’m not sure they can outlast the Lakers, especially if LeBron and Davis can adjust and use size to their advantage. However, the Rockets seem to have adapted better than any team in the western conference and it’ll be interesting to see how the playoffs unfold. At the very least, D’Antoni has earned the benefit of the doubt

    • illowa

      Not everyone can have a davis or bron on their team and then you have to beat these types of players every year. Think way outside the box like dantoni and give yourself a chance to win with what you have.

    • x%sure

      Getting rid of centers convinces perimeter players that they have to do the tough work. Thus, that work has more hands on it. Harden used to just stand and watch in the lane. Covington and Green shirked even playing the 4. Now they are all in ideal stances in optimal positions. Bobby Knight should like this stuff.

      Well game 2s have featured comebacks this year we will see.

      Digression. The evolution of the 5-out with all ballhandlers reminds me of soccer teams shifting from a 442 to a 4231 because it gave them more midfielders to control the ball. Of course other schemes then came into vogue as coaches sought the innovation label, but the 442 had been dominant for a long time, a natural fallback state defensively.

  4. Sillivan

    D’Antoni is low cost

    Doc Rivers is not much better than him
    but very expensive

  5. KnickerbockerAl

    I bet he leaves once they lose to Lakers. They went 7 with OKC. He would have lost forget it. Morey is just blowing air. Only way he comes back is if they beat Lakers. They have never publicly supported him this yr. The owner has talked about another coach. If Im DAntoni I don’t come back. I don’t see it.

    • Sillivan

      He won’t get much money from Rockets owner
      Possibly 2 or 3 million

      I’d love to be Knicks or Nets owner

  6. jump shot

    Could be merely helping him get great money with another team as a parting gift

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