Rumor: Some coaches think Rockets are trying to push out Mike D’Antoni
With the Rockets front office letting go of nearly the entire coaching staff, some people in the coaching community think Houston is trying to push out Mike D’Antoni.
After coming up short in the postseason again, you could sense that changes would be made over the summer. The Rockets made their first big move by deciding not to bring back defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik, who did a phenomenal job at revamping Houston’s defense given their personnel.
Rockets assistant coaches Roy Rogers and Mitch Vanya, along with video coordinator John Cho and player development assistant Irv Roland were also informed their time with the Rockets was up, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.
Clearly, Tilman Fertitta and Co. feel as if the Rockets need new voices in the locker room. When asked if Bzdelik’s firing hit him hard, Mike D’Antoni said that he hated to see his top defensive coach go, but he just has to move on, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick.
“Well, hard because Jeff is the ultimate professional and a good coach. You always hate that, but just wish him the best. It’s even hard to speak on it, because Jeff did a phenomenal job, but you learn in this business that you keep moving forward and that’s all we’ll do.”
Houston may have a complete overhaul of the coaching staff in mind. According to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, part of the league’s coaching community thinks the Rockets are trying to push D’Antoni out by eliminating his staff.
D’Antoni has a season left on his contract, and has already repeatedly said that he could coach for another three seasons and would like to sign an extension with the Rockets.
Given Houston’s success since MDA came on board three seasons ago, it would be surprising to see the Rockets fire him, even though the team hasn’t been able to make it to the Finals. Houston’s coaching situation is a bit of a mess, and there are a lot of questions surrounding this team heading into next season.
At least one thing is clear: The Rockets as currently constructed are not good enough to beat the Warriors, even without Kevin Durant. Fortunately, Tilman Fertitta is willing to spend the extra money to build a better team. Only time will tell what Daryl Morey can pull off with limited room to maneuver.