John Lucas Now Favorite To Be Rockets’ Next Head Coach?

OCTOBER 22: Appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Wednesday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski stated that Jeff Van Gundy‘s conversations with the Rockets have continued and that JVG has remained “the focus” of Houston’s search (video link). That contradicts Windhorst’s report (below), which strongly suggested that Lucas and Silas were more serious candidates than Van Gundy.

Both ESPN reporters at least agree that Lucas, Van Gundy, and Silas remain the frontrunners in Houston, in some order. It seems likely – albeit not 100% certain – that someone from that group will become the Rockets’ next head coach.

OCTOBER 21: “Circumstances have changed” in the Rockets‘ search for a head coach, making John Lucas the favorite for the job and seemingly leaving Jeff Van Gundy out of the equation, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. He made the comments today during an appearance on The Jump (video link), adding that Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas is among those still in the mix.

According to Windhorst, many people around the league believe Lucas’ strong relationship with Rockets players and new general manager Rafael Stone gives him the inside track for the position. Lucas, 66, hasn’t been a head coach since 2003, but he is a long-time assistant and has served as a player development coach in Houston since 2016. He had brief stints as a head coach with the Spurs, Sixers and Cavaliers, compiling a 173-258 record.

Windhorst adds that the Rockets lost several coaching candidates when GM Daryl Morey decided to resign last week. Tyronn Lue, who had been considered one of the favorites for the job in Houston, agreed to stay with the Clippers and become their head coach. Other potential candidates who have been identified are former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool and Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr.

With the Pacers and Pelicans filling vacancies in the past two days, the Rockets and Thunder are the only remaining teams without a head coach. Windhorst notes that the Rockets don’t have any picks in the Nov. 18 draft, so there’s no pressure to hire someone right away to handle pre-draft workouts.

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40 thoughts on “John Lucas Now Favorite To Be Rockets’ Next Head Coach?

  1. Curtisrowe

    This might seem like a reach but Lucas knows hoops and is thought of as a very cool guy who knows how to motivate and cultivate respect.

  2. Sillivan

    Lucas is a perfect coach except one thing – wins
    I mean
    Excluded win he is the best coach in the nba

    Win only
    Lucas is the worst coach in the nba

  3. Noel1982

    I have no personal opinion on former spurs , sixers ,cavs and soon to be rockets head coach John Lucas ! But look forward to seeing the rockets guy here explain how a coach was Career record is way underwater is the right guy to easily lead the rockets to the title !

  4. jessaumodesto

    Wow, he’s the best out there? I thought when I read his name a while back they meant his son or someone with just the same name. Have all the other NBA teams just slept on him for a couple decades?

  5. DynamiteAdams

    I’m underwhelmed by the Rockets “favorites” for HC thus far

  6. I wonder why Jeff Van Gundy is suddenly out of the equation? Did he just remove himself from contention? Was he just playing around and doing these interviews for fun? He was never really going to leave ESPN all along?

    I don’t get it. From front-runner to suddenly out of the equation? No reason given for this either.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      I doubt he was ever the actual front-runner for the job, it was just because everyone knows who he is. He should stick to broadcasting anyway, he’s better off in the booth than on the court.

      • xxtremecubsguy89

        Yet when they officially hire him you’re going to be saying how the Rockets are going to definitely win the championship because of him. Go away.

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Getting Lucas does not say much about team. This team is suppose to contend. Or I should say, was suppose to contend. The team chemistry is not looking good. Not a Harden fan at all. Only way they have a chance is. By trading Westbrook. They can redo team on fly. And with right coach. Can be a playoff team with upside. Rockets are heading in wrong direction.

    • bowserhound

      430 wins and 318 losses

      173 wins and 258 losses

      Go on….

    • El Don

      JVG has a winning record & a trip to the Finals…
      Lucas has a loosing record & nothing in the playoffs…
      & you say “He can’t possibly be any worse than JVG!
      Oh boy if you would be hilarious if you weren’t so pathetic!

    • KnickerbockerAl

      Lucas hasn’t been head coach for a long time. His record is not great. I’m not anti Lucas. I just think Rockets can’t get it won’t get top coaches. I mean your GM booked, your coach booked. Your small is in shambles. So getting Lucas is not a big statement. I think JVG is better statement. But I’m not a fan of him neither. Doc would have made a statement. Even Thibs lol. Seems no one wants the job. You would think coaches be knocking down doors to coach MVPs right. I’ve been telling you all yr it’s Harden. You can’t trade him. So you have to move Westbrook.

  8. ClassicSalsa

    Sorry but I don’t think there going to far with Lucas. The only reason Lucas will get the job is because of Harden. Harden knows that a coach willing to make the necessary adjustments in order to have the Rocket’s win is not going to allow Harden to do what he wants. He wants a friend not a coach.

    • x%sure

      Agree. He’s Lue-like, except he inherited a lousy team and made it worse. To be fair, it’s a fair guess that CLE at the time was tanking for LJ, if not very well.

      Harden is taking a lot of responsibility and it may not be good for his legacy, if true.
      Possibly, he just wants JVG out of the picture, and figures this method gets the job done better than insulting a prominent media figure.

  9. CastielStrife

    I thought someone new could give the Rockets a chance, but not Lucas. Our team will be way worse off with him than we were with D’Antoni. It’s time to stop letting the players run the teams. There’s a reason there’s a coach and GM and governor. I’m fine with players having input, but I am not fine with eliminating Van Gundy because Harden is probably whining about it. I’ll have no interest in the coming seasons if the Rockets hire Lucas. The only good thing that can come out of it is for once the Rockets would be tanking, and the hilarious thing is they won’t even think they’re tanking lol.

  10. mike.honcho

    Bless Lucas for all of his civic work and advocacies ……… but he’s a solid definition of a players-coach.

    I agree, Lucas seems to be the kind of guy that Harden would want …… and that’s not a good thing.

  11. It doesn’t matter who they get as a coach. As long as Harden is on a team that team will not win a championship. He would probably be pretty good in a one on one league tho.

    • CastielStrife

      Look, I have my issues with Harden too, but it’s silly to say he can never win a championship. The Rockets were one win away (and perhaps a healthy Chris Paul away) from winning the Western Conference Finals and advancing to the NBA Finals where they would have been favored. I think it’s silly that so many people dismiss that and say Harden can never win a championship. I honestly want them to trade Harden and Westbrook, but it isn’t as if Harden is some bum. They came very close. I just don’t know if they can build around those two in time to win given their age and without any money and no sort of draft capital.

      • Chief Two Hands

        They didn’t win that game without Paul because Harden couldn’t hit a shot and they blew the lead they had. That failure was all Harden.

        • CastielStrife

          Harden had 32 points. He wasn’t fantastic but he wasn’t terrible, either. Ariza was 0-12. 0-12! Including 9 missed 3 point attempts. Gordon was 9-22 and 2-12 on three point attempts. It wasn’t all on Harden. He could have played better, but overall the whole team sucked. They kept chucking up threes and missing them. Had they drove to the basket more, there’s a good chance they win that game. I’m not a Harden apologist by any means. I think he is a “me me me” player who cares more about stats than winning. That being said, I still think he is a good player who most certainly could win a chip with the right pieces around him. He has come close.

      • CastielStrife@, that wasn’t James Harden’s fault. If you remember that game 7 Eric Gordon was on FIRE in the first half. Then the second half nobody could hit a shot for the Rockets.

        It’s that small ball that wore them out. You need legs for jump shots so by the second half they were done. When you’re playing out of position like Eric Gordon as a forward at 6-3 and PJ Tucker as a center at 6-5 the legs are going to go. The scheme just didn’t work for them.

        Not sure why Ariza was 0-12 but Gordon was on fire the first half. Couldn’t miss. I remember that game and I had no fingernails left at halftime. But by the end of the third quarter I had my feet up and relaxed.

  12. WSnotAstros2017

    If Rockets wanted JVG figured would lock him up after brother was hired next door. Not crazy bout Lucas either. Just think they really do not know who want and myself will they make another run just not sure. Not crazy with Westbrook myself. Wish could send him out. I just do not think he delivered. Think am fading lately with Harden. Sad what coaching world coming too with Rockets and Texans

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