Veteran coach John Lucas, who has been in Houston for the last four years in a player development role, will remain with the Rockets, having agreed to be part of new head coach Stephen Silas‘ staff, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).
A former first overall pick as an NBA player, Lucas transitioned to coaching in the early 1990s and has spent time as a head coach for the Spurs, Sixers, and Cavaliers. The 66-year-old was also an assistant for the Nuggets and Clippers before eventually joining the Rockets in 2016.
After spending four years working under Mike D’Antoni, Lucas was a candidate to be promoted to take D’Antoni’s place as head coach in Houston. He was reportedly one of three finalists – alongside Silas and Jeff Van Gundy – and there was a belief that some Rockets players were pulling for him to get the job.
When the team opted instead for Silas, it wasn’t clear whether Lucas would stick around. However, new general manager Rafael Stone is said to be one of Lucas’ biggest backers in the organization and the two sides were apparently able to work out a new deal.
The Rockets are reportedly hoping that Silas’ coaching staff will include at least two former NBA head coaches. Lucas fits that bill, though it looks like the club will miss out on rumored target Nate McMillan. Houston was also said to be in talks with Jeff Hornacek.