Rick Higgins

Rockets Add Hornacek To Silas’ Coaching Staff

The Rockets have hired Jeff Hornacek as an assistant on Stephen Silas’ staff, according to a team press release.

Hornacek was the head coach in Phoenix for 2 1/2 seasons from 2013-16 and in New York for two seasons from 2016-18. Previous reports indicated Houston was close to an agreement with Hornacek and now it’s official.

John Lucas, who was reportedly one of the finalists to replace Mike D’Antoni as head coach, will remain in the organization as an assistant. Will Weaver, Rick Higgins, and DeSagana Diop will also join Silas’ staff.

Weaver was the head coach of the Sydney Kings in Australia after being named NBA G League Coach of the Year for the 2018/19 season with the Long Island Nets. Higgins spent the past two seasons with the Magic as associate coach/player development, while Diop spent the past four seasons on the Jazz’s staff.

Texas Notes: Walker, Austin Spurs, Assistant Coaches

Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV has new representation. Rich Paul and Lucas Newton of Klutch Sports are Walker’s new agents, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Twitter link). Klutch also represents Walker’s teammates Dejounte Murray and Trey Lyles.

Walker remains on his rookie contract with the Spurs. He will become eligible for a rookie scale extension in 2021 and – if he doesn’t sign a new deal early – would reach restricted free agency in 2022.

There’s more from the Lone Star State:

  • The Spurs‘ G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, have promoted assistant Matt Nielsen to head coach, and named former assistant general manager Tyler Self the new GM, according to a team press release.
  • The Rockets continue to remake their personnel beyond the hardwood. New head coach Stephen Silas has added Magic player development coach Rick Higgins, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), and former Sydney Kings head coach Will Weaver, per Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).
  • Per a team press release, the Spurs have promoted Mitch Johnson to fill Tim Duncan‘s role on Gregg Popovich‘s bench and have also named Darius Songalia an assistant coach. Duncan, a Hall of Fame power forward and five-time champion with the club, will return to his more informal player development duties with the team for 2020/21.

Rockets Notes: Harden, Silas, Diop, Higgins, Weaver, McMillan

New Rockets general manager Rafael Stone says he’s committed to building a championship team around James Harden, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. There has been speculation former Rockets GM and newly-hired Sixers executive Daryl Morey would try to acquire the former MVP.

“We’ve still got James Harden. Our goal is still to win a championship, and if you’ve got him, you’re halfway there,” Stone said. “It’s incumbent on me and (new coach) Stephen (Silas) and the whole team to figure out the rest of the whole, but the key piece is there.”

Silas embraces those expectations and the pressure that comes with it. “I’m a win-now coach,” he said. “To not have to deal with growing and all that type of stuff, to think championship right away, is exciting for me. And I’m prepared for it and ready for it.”

We have more on the Rockets:

  • Silas’ contract is a four-year deal, Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston tweets. Silas was officially hired on October 30 after being one of the presumed finalists along with Jeff Van Gundy and John Lucas, who has decided to remain in Houston and join Silas’ staff.
  • As previously reported, the team has talked to former Suns and Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek about joining their coaching staff. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has uncovered a few other candidates that the Rockets are interested in hiring. Jazz assistant DeSagana Diop, Magic assistant Rick Higgins and former Sixers and Nets assistant Will Weaver are also possible additions to the staff, though Weaver is also a candidate for the Thunder’s head coaching job.
  • The front office aggressively pursued former Pacers head coach Nate McMillan to join the staff but he opted to instead join the Hawks’ staff under Lloyd Pierce, Berman adds in another tweet. Atlanta is close to hiring McMillan, though no official announcement has been made.