Rockets Notes: D’Antoni, Morey, House, Gordon

Mike D’Antoni wants to continue coaching, but his time in Houston may be over, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. D’Antoni, 69, is now a free agent on the coaching market after his Rockets were ousted from the playoffs Saturday night. He hasn’t ruled out staying with his current team, but was unable to reach an extension last summer, leading to a public battle with management.

Sources tell Amick that there’s interest in D’Antoni from the Pacers, who recently fired Nate McMillan. However, Indiana is looking at other candidates as well, and D’Antoni’s hiring wouldn’t be a sure thing. There have also been rumors that he might be headed to New Orleans and a reunion with VP of basketball operations David Griffin, whom he once worked with in Phoenix, but Amick hears that D’Antoni isn’t a serious contender for the Pelicans job.

D’Antoni has been successful in his four years with the Rockets, posting a 217-101 record and leading the team to at least the second round of the playoffs each season. But Amick adds that hard feelings remain from last year’s failed talks involving D’Antoni’s agent, Warren LeGarie, and owner Tilman Fertitta, general manager Daryl Morey and CEO Tad Brown.

Amick notes that ABC/ESPN analyst and former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy is considered a candidate if the job opens up again. Tim MacMahon of ESPN also mentions Van Gundy, along with ex-Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and Pelicans assistant Chris Finch, who has a championship on his resume with the Rockets’ G League affiliate in Rio Grande.

There’s more Rockets news this morning:

  • Morey’s job remains safe, despite the playoff ouster and an early-season tweet that cost the organization millions in sponsorship deals and damaged the NBA’s relationship with China, high-ranking Rockets sources tell MacMahon. Morey reportedly plans to continue the small-ball experiment next season as he believes it’s the best way to maximize the talents of James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
  • Rockets players haven’t said much publicly about the Danuel House incident since he was forced to leave the Disney World campus following an alleged violation of league rules, but Harden called it a “distraction” in a post-game interview. (video link from Ben DuBose of USA Today’s The Rockets Wire). “Very, very disappointing. It affected us,” Harden said. “Obviously, we still have to go out there and play a basketball game, and play a series. But it affected us. Obviously, it’s a distraction. He was a huge part of our rotation.”
  • Saturday’s loss means the final year of Eric Gordon‘s contract will remain non-guaranteed, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The four-year extension Gordon signed in September includes a provision that guarantees his $20.9MM salary for 2023/24 if he makes an All-Star team or the Rockets win a championship.
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33 thoughts on “Rockets Notes: D’Antoni, Morey, House, Gordon

  1. I don’t know why Jeff Van Gundy’s name comes up in these coaching vacancies. I get the feeling he’s settled into his ESPN gig and is probably enjoying his life more now than ever. Stan Van Gundy May coach again but Jeff I would say he’s done.

    • Al Hirschen

      He just told Houston Rockets players that he’s not coming back and that he’s a free agent and will coach next year with another team

  2. What a major lucky break for the Rockets regarding Eric Gordon’s contract. Now he’s basically going to be a free agent when the Rockets cut him.

  3. Sillivan

    Without big trade Rockets will be first round exit next 3 years then play lottery

  4. Sillivan

    4 worst available contracts Trade Idea

    Rockets get Al Horford and Tobias Harris
    76ers get Westbrook and Gordon

    • hiflew

      Why in the world would the Rockets trade a non-guaranteed Gordon salary for 3 years of Horford and 5 years of Harris? Gordon will be released. He might be re-signed at a lower salary by Houston or he could go elsewhere for their MLE, but he is not going to get anywhere close to $20 million next year.

      • hiflew

        Scratch that, I misunderstood the story. I thought it meant next year was NG. Either way, it would be a dumb trade for Houston.

        • I missed it too. I was thinking next year. But that’s three years down the road LOL. Had to read it again after your post so thank you.

        • jump shot

          Why would it be a dumb trade? All 4 players are a fit for the two teams. Philly needs a player like Westbrook, and Gordon – while not Redick – still brings shooting and scoring.
          Tobias is a good fit (and good SIZE) for “small ball” and Horford is, as well. It’s not like Boston was huge when he played great ball for them.
          Houston’s window is closing and this would be a good trade.l, imo.

          • Curtisrowe

            You think a team built around Harden, Horford and Harris would be a good thing?

            You think Philly needs ANOTHER guy like Simmons who can’t shoot, such as Westbrook?

    • Marvels MAGA Man

      Hard pass.

      If anything the rockets should send Westbrook, House, and McLemore to the Knicks for Randle, Payton, Ntilikina, Knox, and the knicks top 1st round choice.

      Knicks need a big name player desperately and House is in the Mike Clevinger boat after his hotel incident. Knicks should trade for Gordon Hayward to get a 1st from the Celtics as compensation for taking his contract. Team would be a lot better with Westbrook, Hayward, and Barrett.

      Rockets then go out and bring back old friend Dragic or Fred Van Vleet if they have room.

      • Sillivan

        After trade Rockets have 125 million team salary, no cap to sign VanVleet
        Westbrook 42 million a year
        Gordon 76 million contract
        Both need load management
        Rockets 3 best picks from 76ers this year

  5. Black Ace57

    Of course Morey’s job wouldn’t be affected by his Hong Kong tweet. If they tried firing him or punishing him after all this BLM, justice, and equality talk it would look very hypocritical.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      The reason the Rockets are keeping Morey is because he’s one of the best GM’s in the NBA and if they fired him it would spark a huge bidding war for his services.

      • x_burner_X

        How is Daryl not fired for trading 2(!) Picks and a superior player in CP3(who is a lock to be all nba this season) for Westbrook’s contract (that is one year longer)? Russ was terrible against LA

  6. x_burner_X

    It was so silly to expect Houston to beat the Lakers – rockets are an inferior team compared to LA, while expecting Russ and Harden (one of the biggest chokers in history) to beat LeBron in the playoffs is stupid.

  7. arc89

    watching the game last night I saw somebody choking. Opps my mistake that was just the TV on and watching another choke job by the rockets. How bad it is to be a Rockets fan knowing that their most likely last chance just went by them.

    • x_burner_X

      They need to blow it up, this Harden russ mvp thing is obviously not working)

  8. yoyo137

    Rockets are gonna trade Russ for John Wall. Might as well try a 3rd supermax PG

    • Sillivan

      According to reports
      John Wall and Blake Griffin are not available for trade

      Tobias Harris and Horford are average players but they are more healthy than Westbrook and Gordon
      Rockets get picks

  9. If the Rockets can’t find a taker for Westbrook, then they really don’t have many options beyond doubling down. I can’t think of a team that would want him. The team would have to be contender (with all other pieces in place) and have 3 pt shooting at all other positions. Cap space will be precious the next few years.

  10. GoLandCrabs

    If I were D’antoni I would want to get out of Houston too. They really thought Westbrook would put them over the top LOL. Panic move after Jimmy Butler spurned them.

  11. KnickerbockerAl

    Now DAntoni is being made the scapegoat. Moving Capela was not his doing. Neither was moving Chris. Harden didn’t get along with Chris so he wanted him gone. No one was taking Chris after just signing a max contract. Which also was not DAntonis idea. So they were strong armed to go for Westbrook. This is Hardens team. Even Westbrook knows that now. I BET he’ll be wanting out soon too. Nobody wants to play with Harden. He does not want to share top billing. Even if it means winning a ring. He’s another Melo with better offense. Take it from a Real NYK fan who never liked Melo.

  12. WSnotAstros2017

    Westbrook and Harden will still be with Houston. They will not be gone. Talk is staying small ball around them. I was not impressed with Lakers series. The first game I thought maybe can pull it off. But was not expecting to choke the next 4 games. Westbrook never looked good playing. Could not control ball and scoring up and down. Harden guess runs out of gas. Cannot always be him trying to do it all. Now who can work with them. Casell would love not sure on Lue definitely no on Van Gundy and that is either of them. Who Rockets will get during off season for a Coach and staff and do with team is anyone’s guess. I just hope someone can watch with team. But how long can you keep going with Harden and really not reach top. Would we have lasted with CP3 over Westbrook. Thought when started season it might work but the bubble not so sure. But will watch what they do. Am sure a coach is first then team

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