The Houston Rockets and Mike D’Antoni were unable to agree on a contract extension, so the head coach ended negotiations.
There has been a lot of surprising news coming out about the Houston Rockets over the past week. Last week, the Rockets decided not to bring back four members of the coaching staff, including lead assistant Jeff Bzdelik, the team’s defensive guru. On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Houston had made their entire roster available for trade, including their draft picks.
On Thursday, another surprise was reported. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni called off negotiations with Houston’s front office on a contract extension.
Talks between D’Antoni and the team have been ongoing for over a week, and he recently told reporters that he could coach for at least another three years. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is still high on his coach, as he recently said that D’Antoni will definitely coach the Rockets next season.
After Houston informed four coaches on D’Antoni’s staff that their time with the team was done, some coaches around the league wondered if the Rockets were trying to push MDA out of Houston.
Those concerns grew legs when reports surfaced that Houston made former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue an offer to join Houston as an assistant coach back in October and are still interested in hiring him. If Houston somehow added Lue as an assistant, it would bring even more uncertainty around the organization. If the Rockets got off to a slow start next season, they could fire MDA without a second thought since they’d have a championship-caliber coach ready to fill in.
According to Woj, the Rockets wanted to give D’Antoni a performance based extension, which didn’t seem to interest him. In D’Antoni’s three seasons with Houston, he has secured a Coach of the Year Award, helped lead the team to a franchise record 65 win season and helped the team get to the Western Conference Finals.
It seems like MDA thinks he has already done enough to earn the extension he’s looking for, but Houston’s front office thinks otherwise.