In a radio interview on Wednesday, Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni revealed why the Houston Rockets let Gary Clark go recently.
It’s no secret that Gary Clark had a cult following in Houston. His 6-6 frame allowed for him to play multiple positions for the Houston Rockets, making him a versatile option for Mike D’Antoni on a team struggling with injuries all season long. Despite putting up 12 points and 6.8 rebounds per 36 minutes, Clark was never able to crack the team’s rotation, which led to his recent release from the team.
Many believed the move was purely to avoid the luxury tax, while others believed it was part of an upcoming move by the team. So far, the Rockets haven’t made any moves since the release of Clark, who ended up signing a 10-day contract with the Orlando Magic.
Wednesday afternoon, The Matt Thomas Show on SportsTalk 790 asked Mike D’Antoni to speak about the second-year forward and the reasoning behind the release and had this to say:
“I think Gary can play. A lot of factors go into it. Gary was great — very professional, a good guy. One of the main forces behind letting him go was that it opens up the possibility to make it easier for Daryl’s team to impact a trade. I don’t get into that, I don’t know. That’s probably the thinking behind it. Whether it happens or not, who knows?”
From what Coach D’Antoni said in the interview, it sure doesn’t seem like the team had a transactional basis behind letting Clark go. If they did, why doesn’t the head coach know about it? It seems from how everything happened that the luxury tax theory is the most probable reason Gary was released from the team.
While D’Antoni wished Clark good luck and had nothing but praise to say about him, he still didn’t shut the door on the possibility of retaining his services down the road. “We hate to lose Gary”, said D’Antoni. “He was good for us. Who knows, we might get him back. He’s on a 10-day in Orlando if I’m not mistaken, and we’d be open to getting him back here.”
While I’m not holding my breath that Clark will find his way back to Space City, it appears that the door hasn’t been fully shut.
But if Houston ends up getting him right back, that will either mean a planned trade or acquisition fell through or there was never a plan in the first place. Either one isn’t a great look for the Rockets’ front office.