Rockets Hire Stephen Silas As Head Coach

OCTOBER 30: The Rockets have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve hired Silas as their new head coach. Team owner Tilman Fertitta referred to the opportunity as “well-earned and long overdue” for Silas.

“The success Coach Silas had with Dallas last season reinforced the notion that he is more than ready to lead his own team,” GM Rafael Stone said in a statement of his own. “The strengths of our core players are a great fit for Coach Silas’ system and ideology and I’m looking forward to working with him to find ways we can continue to improve our roster.”

OCTOBER 28: The Rockets and Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas are finalizing a deal that will make him the team’s new head coach, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Silas had been one of three presumed finalists for the position, along with former NBA head coaches Jeff Van Gundy and John Lucas.

Van Gundy and Lucas were rumored to be the frontrunners to replace Mike D’Antoni in Houston at various points during the Rockets’ head coaching search process, but the Rockets opted for a first-time head coach rather than a veteran with experience in the role.

Silas, the son of former NBA star and coach Paul Silas, was hired in 1999 as a scout by the franchise known at the time as the Charlotte Hornets and has since served as an assistant on a number of NBA coaching staffs. After spending four years as an assistant with Golden State from 2006-10 and eight years with the Bobcats/Hornets from 2010-18, he moved to Dallas in 2018, where he spent the last two years as a member of Rick Carlisle‘s staff.

Silas has received consideration for multiple head coaching jobs in recent years, having reportedly drawn interest from Indiana and Chicago this year in addition to Houston. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the Rockets were impressed with Silas’ “offensive ingenuity,” as well as his pedigree as an assistant.

According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), the Rockets moved “increasingly” over the weekend toward Silas. He had a Zoom call with many Houston players last night, which represented an important final step, since those players were all on board with the decision, a source tells Feigen.

As Woj points out, Silas will be tasked with coaching and running an offense for former MVPs Russell Westbrook and James Harden after having worked with a handful of other star guards during his career as an assistant, including Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, and Kemba Walker. He’ll also oversee a period of transition within the franchise — in addition to making a head coaching change, the Rockets have also undergone a major front office overhaul this fall, with longtime GM Daryl Morey leaving the organization.

The Rockets are expected to help Silas build an experienced coaching staff that includes at least two former head coaches, according to Feigen. The team has begun talks with Nate McMillan and Jeff Hornacek, and will likely make Lucas an offer to remain with the franchise, either as an assistant or in a new capacity, Feigen adds.

With Silas poised to become the Rockets’ new coach, only one NBA team – the Thunder – has yet to finalize its head coaching search.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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35 thoughts on “Rockets Hire Stephen Silas As Head Coach

  1. mikey

    Wasn’t expecting that. Was kinda hoping for JVG. But this guy seems to be interviewed every year for a head coaching job along with Udoka, and never seemed to get a job. So it’s probably well deserved at this point.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      They already gave him a chance and he lost in the first round 3 times, and didn’t even make the playoffs the other year he was with the team. Silas is the better man for the job.

      • CastielStrife

        With tons of injuries along the way. JVG is a good coach. I was really hoping to give him another shot.

  2. mlbnyyfan

    JVG doesn’t want to leave the TV booth. He’s never coaching again.

    • the sterling don

      I wish I owned a team so I could hire him as head coach, for the sole purpose of getting him out of the TV booth. His level of annoying is unmatched.

  3. x%sure

    Silas saves Fertitta money.
    Just read that from David Aldridge… JVG would require a status amount. And note the official, last paragraph down & dirty explanation of hiring Silas, from Woj: He {works with} prominent lead guards. JVG would not be so easy on Harden, might be sarcastic.
    A toast to peace in the city next to Galveston.

    • david-45

      so what you are saying is that James harden doesnt want JVG to coach becuase he would want james to paly defense lol

    • david-45

      the guard thing is a joke, he worked with curry, luka and kemba. all were great players before he arrived. and now harden/westbrook will make this coach look good becasue they are already elite.

    • x%sure

      As of this write, 7 upvotes to the OP… an unusual amount. A misunderstanding?— hmm lol
      Woj’s comment comes from his tweet listing basically four Silas hiring attributes. 1)ingenuity 2)pedigree 3) “coached some remarkable guards in his NBA career… [Doncic, Walker, Curry, others]”…

      Justification (4)– Why even bother with these unattributed justifications instead of focussing on what HR smartly took, “He’ll also oversee a period of transition within the franchise” coming loosely from Woj’s awful “Now he gets to run offense for Harden-Westbrook”.
      Woj kind of ran out of gas in the end, odd. Hopefully he plans to get into it in an article.

      Point (3) is interesting to unlock. IDK what those guys have common that doesn’t involve them adapting the step-back J that Harden more or less invented. Why is Woj ignoring the irony, or the invention credit, or the name Harden itself, but naming other guards, or even “guards” in particular?— He’s also coached other positions, no? Woj may have reason to be not confident in Harden’s future in this org, so avoided him.

      IMO, Fertitta may be getting offers for Harden, but not Westbrook… so that means getting the HC best for Westbrook and phasing out the input from Harden, a Lucas fan. People saying Lucas was the favorite might have been going by an assumption of Harden favoritism that Fertitta is now giving up on.
      JVG coaching would have been more fun oh well.

      Errata— Not taking anything back, but just to be clear about the OP, my opinion on JVG should have been on a separate line, being mine not Woj’s… and my “official last paragraph” would be more clearly said “third to last paragraph above^” (I was being sarcastic about Woj.)

  4. CastielStrife

    I wanted JVG because what this team has been doing hasn’t worked. I feel like this will look like the exact same team next year with Silas. I don’t feel that’d be the case with JVG. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if I’m wrong, but it’s just not what I expect. We’ll see if they can pull a rabbit out of their hat and pick up a good big man in free agency. That might give them a shot next year. I’d like to see Howard back. Hopefully Silas can get the job done, but I just feel like Harden is going to run all over him and I don’t believe that would have happened with SVG. Fingers crossed.

  5. specialfriedrice

    Good hire, very good assistants. Still think Houston is going a full reload though.

  6. mike.honcho

    The NBA can’t handle having 2 Van Gundy’s ……. it’s like having all 3 Holiday brothers on one team, it’s mind-blowing.

    I seriously hope that he doesn’t coach like his dad.

    Good moves getting Nate & Horny for that bench.

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    His dad was a great player. Don’t know much about him. This is not a good sign to me. Means they are not serious about contending. That they don’t think they are good enough. Which we all know the are NOT. A first yr coach signals defeat and new beginnings. No one will trade for Harden. So it’s best to move Westbrook. He’s still young and has plenty of value. Rockets can redo team on the fly. Plenty of descent bigs in the draft. So getting a pick or picks can help a lot. Considering they don’t have picks this yr. I give it a 70% chance they trade Westbrook. Before draft or at draft would be ideal.

    • CastielStrife

      As I’ve said before, I have my own issues with Harden (as a Rockets fan) and I am in no way a Harden apologist. But you guys are crazy who think that no one would trade for him. Harden alone practically puts any team in the playoffs. Obviously that isn’t good enough for most teams, but for some teams who are missing out on the playoffs year after year it’s a pretty good proposition. People can think what they want about Harden, but I guarantee you if the Rockets put him on the trading block teams would be lining up. Does that mean a deal would get done? No. Rockets would want someone to overpay. But it’s silly to think no one would trade for him.

      • bowserhound

        Any team that trades for Harden puts their free throw attempt stat line into the stratosphere. Dudes a clown.

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        He has it completely backwards. The Rockets are not trading one of the top 3 players in the NBA, why would they even consider doing so? There isn’t a single team that would turn down the chance to get a generational talent like Harden.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Please give us a team who would. He is owed 133 mill over next 3 yrs. He’s a 1way player who is a ball stopper. Rockets offense has been built around him. No team is building their offense around him. Just to make playoffs. Yes he could help in sales and fan attractions. But we are a yr removed from opening up stadiums hopefully. Couldn’t play with Howard. Couldn’t play with Chris. Can’t play with Westbrook. Doesn’t play D. So who would trade for that and overpay. His offense is hold the ball for 16 sec. Then shoot or give it to a player that has to shoot. Houston is stuck with that. Rest of NBA plays team ball. Pass pass pass then shoot. Harden is worst case of ball stopper. Giannis, PG n Kawhi all got exposed in playoffs. A real team can defend a great scorer. Not stop him necessarily. But defend him contain him. To be able to win the game. Players even great players who don’t share the ball. Are destined to lose in playoffs. Only teams win in playoffs. Great players can carry you there. But to win it’s a team thing. Even if you are the best player on floor. Like Bron so obviously was. Never wins without AD or good games by Pope, Rondo, even Morrisand Caruso. You think MJ wins without Scottie or Grant. Or the Worm and Kerr. Or Cartwright and Paxson. Today no one is caping out their team. Unless there are contenders. So tell us who does Harden do that for. Now they might give up less for him. Not equal value definitely not overpay.
        On the other hand. Westbrook is not a ball stopper. Hes been to Finals. He has value and would be easier to move. Rockets can get fair value for him. And at least have a chance and a future. Morey trades away all Rockets picks. Then ran away. That’s what trying to build around Harden has gotten you today. Harden is another Mello. Better scorer same results. All about the money and fame.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      The only reason no one would trade for Harden is simply because no one can come up with enough value to entice the Rockets to let him go. It would have to be a monumental trade like when Dallas sent Herschel Walker to Minnesota.

      • Chief Two Hands

        Your obsession with Harden is amusing, but I have bad news…I don’t think he swings your way.

        • xxtremecubsguy89

          Chief I just laughed so hard. That was awesome. The only thing that comes close to being as funny as that, is him thinking Harden is a top 3 player in the NBA lol

  8. Jason Lancaster

    Fertitta isn’t as dumb as I thought. Good hire, assuming he lets Silas coach.

    • Chief Two Hands

      I think the bigger concern should be whether Harden will let him coach. The guy only plays one way, and it’s all about him.

      • Jason Lancaster

        I don’t believe that for a second. Harden has followed the game plan as well as any superstar.

        • x%sure

          Good point Jason but is Harden now “over-wed” to the system?(How about that phrase! I’m proud)
          If the coach told him to do otherwise, for instance be more like he used to be, would he? Who wants what in the pertinent chain, Fertitta- Silas- Harden. Not that I know.

          I would Not have called Harden insistent on a style previous to Morey, maybe to a fault; he was notably athletic and won challenges with twisting even when he got in over his head. I thought him can’t-miss as a draftee but not a PG and I don’t recall a style except agile in the paint. He could slow-drive if he wanted to.

          Interesting to see what comes next. People on here are praising Silas without saying/knowing why but there are major decisions to be made.

  9. WSnotAstros2017

    I like this move. JVG his time is gone for Rockets. Would like to see what can do. If could get rid of someone it would be Westbrook. I still may have both when season starts but whether for whole season. Guess will see who OKC gets now. I like Nate and Hornacek as assistants as need someone strong as a go to person if Silas fails. But would like to see what has. I also want to see what Rockets do this off season now that a new coach and Morey stepped away. Wish him best in Philly.

  10. jump shot

    He’s beyond ready to be a head coach. Doesnt necessarily mean he’ll win a championship, but he’s definitely prepared to be a head coach.
    Good hire!

  11. Sillivan

    For past 3 years Rockets have been title contenders, I think this is not a good hire

    Rockets are title contenders 3 out of 24 years
    Title contenders 2018, 2019, 2020

    • Sillivan

      I don’t believe that Rockets will pass the first round in 2021
      They can’t even beat Clippers or Warriors next year

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