Rockets: What’s going on with Mike D’Antoni and coaching role?

Daryl Morey Tilman Fertitta Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Daryl Morey Tilman Fertitta Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Morey’s comments about D’Antoni

What’s really intriguing about the speculation regarding the Rockets potentially seeking a new coach is what we’ve heard from Rockets GM Daryl Morey, specifically of late. On the same day the coaching rumors heated back up, Morey was publicly endorsing Mike D’Antoni.

On Monday Morey was on ESPN LA’s Mason and Ireland and didn’t exactly sound like an executive who was ready to make a coaching change. Morey was speaking about the Rockets’ schematic change to the small ball strategy and gave a heap of praise to D’Antoni.

Morey stated, “Coach D’Antoni is a wizard. If you give him the right players, coach D’Antoni is a hell of a coach.” Morey also endorsed MDA while speaking about how the Rockets have gotten Russell Westbrook to cut down on his 3-point attempts per game.

“This is why I love coach D’Antoni. From day one coach has [told Russell Westbrook] be great. That’s all he had to say. It’s our job to fit the players around him and fit the schemes around him.”

Sure, Morey wouldn’t exactly say he’s parting ways with D’Antoni, a la Jerry Krause, but this is a bit more than one would expect for a team with its sights set on making a coaching change. But if that doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you might be sold on what he had to say on The Lowe Post, which took place just two games before the league’s shutdown.

“I like someone who I’m being challenged by. Mike comes in and is constantly like ‘hey we should do this.’ The reality is without Mike D’Antoni, this Clint Capela for Robert Covington trade never happens. I’d be shocked if there’s very many coaches in the league where I can get that trade done.

As a GM, if you’re making what is a pretty big gamble, if you don’t have the coach on-board in a way that he understands how to use what we were going to try and do, you can’t make that. It’s just too risky, too risky. Too much giving up.

Coach D’Antoni said ‘I trust what you guys are doing, I see what you’re doing and we’re going to make it work. That means so much.”

Next: Making sense of Morey's words