One of two teams that has yet to hire a new head coach, the Rockets are taking their time to finalize a decision on who will replace Mike D’Antoni. It has been over six weeks since D’Antoni and the team went their separate ways, and it has been nearly two weeks since a report suggested the Rockets had narrowed their search to three candidates.
Since Jeff Van Gundy, John Lucas, and Stephen Silas were identified as the Rockets’ presumed finalists, there have been conflicting reports on which candidate has the upper hand.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested last week during a TV appearance that Lucas had emerged as the frontrunner for the position and seemed to imply that Van Gundy was no longer a serious candidate. However, his colleague Adrian Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter later that day that Van Gundy had remained the “focus” of Houston’s search and that conversations between the two sides were continuing.
Providing an update this week on the state of the Rockets’ search, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (video link) said he doesn’t believe Lucas is the favorite.
“I really think at this point it’s going to be Jeff Van Gundy or Stephen Silas,” Feigen said. “John Lucas was – and is – a good candidate that they very seriously considered, and are considering, but I think it’s those two.”
Feigen explained that the Rockets’ desire to involve several different members of the organization in the decision – from the basketball operations department to team ownership to players – is one reason why the team has yet to make a hire. But with the draft just weeks away and free agency and training camps expected to follow shortly thereafter, it’s safe to assume Houston will finalize its decision pretty soon.
With that in mind, we want to know which direction you think the Rockets will go with their hire.
Will they lure Van Gundy away from the broadcast booth for another go-round in Houston? Will they stay in-house and promote Lucas, making him an NBA head coach for the first time since 2003? Will they opt for a first-time head coach with plenty of assistant experience in Silas? Or is there still time for the team to go off script and bring in someone unexpected for the job?
Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts on which candidate the Rockets will – and should – hire to replace D’Antoni.
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