Latest On Rockets’ Head Coaching Search

The Rockets are scheduled to meet with Tyronn Lue about their head coaching job early next week, sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Lue’s interview with Houston was originally supposed to happen this past Sunday, but it has now seemingly been pushed back twice as the team takes its time and meets with other candidates.

The Rockets reportedly interviewed Kenny Atkinson, Wes Unseld Jr., and Stephen Silas this week and are meeting with David Vanterpool today. According to Stein, the club is also expected to meet in the “near future” with assistant John Lucas and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Once the NBA Finals end and Van Gundy’s schedule opens up, we should get a better sense of how serious the Rockets are about pursuing him. He has reportedly been on general manager Daryl Morey‘s radar in the past and was one of the first candidates linked to the Houston job, even before the team parted ways with Mike D’Antoni.

Appearing on Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast this week, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon stated that Van Gundy is still believed to be high on the Rockets’ list.

“I still think Jeff Van Gundy is probably the favorite, but they’re definitely doing their due diligence,” MacMahon said (link via RealGM). “… Really, I think the most important thing for the coaching candidates is going to be aligning with Daryl Morey and his vision in terms of basketball philosophy as well as who is going to be on that staff because we all know Daryl Morey is very hands on in terms of putting together a coach’s staff.”

Another factor worth monitoring as the Rockets seek a new head coach is how much team owner Tilman Fertitta will be willing to pay to fill the role.

Since Fertitta’s arrival, Houston has made an apparent effort to avoid finishing seasons in luxury-tax territory. The Rockets also reportedly offered D’Antoni an extension heavy on non-guaranteed incentives last offseason. If the organization is unwilling to make a significant financial commitment to its next head coach, it would presumably reduce the odds of an experienced candidate like Lue or Van Gundy taking the job.

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