Rockets Notes: K. Young, Griffin, Culture, Free Agency

The Rockets‘ interview with Suns assistant Kevin Young for their head coaching position took place on Friday, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Houston followed up that meeting by interviewing Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin on Saturday, Iko adds (via Twitter).

Young and Griffin are at least the third and fourth candidates known to have interviewed for the Rockets’ coaching vacancy. Frank Vogel and Ime Udoka also reportedly met with the team.

Kenny Atkinson, James Borrego, and Sam Cassell have been mentioned as candidates Houston plans to talk to, though there’s no indication those meetings have happened yet.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Speaking this week to the media, including Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required), general manager Rafael Stone strongly pushed back against criticism of the rebuilding Rockets’ culture. “We have not managed to turn that culture into wins at this point in time,” Stone said. “But culture — I would put our team up there with anybody in the NBA. We work really hard. People are very supportive of each other. They get along very well. They spent a ton of time together off the court. A lot of that is a function of their youth, which is always one of the reasons why we’ve struggled to win. It’s all interrelated. I’m willing to fight with anyone who will say that our culture, on this team, this year was challenged.”
  • Stone went on to speculate that there are people in the media who have a residual distaste for how Houston conducted business under Daryl Morey, including the unconventional way the front office built the roster and the organization’s deference to stars like James Harden. “I was part of these teams, so I don’t want to walk away from it,” said Stone, who was an assistant GM under Morey. “… Those teams were very successful. They did things in their own way. I think some people didn’t like the way they did them. One of the things that happened is complaints about the way those people did things are being conflated with us now, even though the only commonality is the Houston Rockets. The players, coaches, front office has changed hugely. That’s my perception.”
  • Iko teamed up with John Hollinger of The Athletic to take a closer look at the offseason decisions facing the Rockets. As The Athletic’s duo notes, Houston owes its top-four protected 2024 first-round pick to Oklahoma City, so the team may be motivated to use its cap room (approximately $60MM) to add win-now veteran help. In addition to Harden, Hollinger names Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent, Cameron Johnson, and Grant Williams as some of the free agents the Rockets could look into.
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