Why is the media so focused on D’Antoni’s status with Rockets?

Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Mike D’Antoni’s status with the Houston Rockets has surprisingly been heavily chronicled by the national media throughout the season.

As well all know by now, Mike D’Antoni‘s contract with the Houston Rockets has run it’s course, meaning the two sides would have to work out a new deal in order to continue his time in Houston. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know this, because the national media has made it a point to make us all aware.

We’ve heard rumblings all throughout the season about D’Antoni and the Rockets, and quite frankly, the talk has been forced and unnecessary. The initial chatter started early in the season, as John Hollinger of The Athletic reported that D’Antoni was almost certainly going to be gone at the end of the season. The interesting thing is that the Rockets were 15-7 at the time of Hollinger’s report, so why did Hollinger decide to put that out there at that point in time?

But it didn’t just stop there, as it was later reported that the Rockets were interested in Tom Thibodeau, which seemed again like an attempt to create a separation and split within the team. Around the same time, we’d heard that the Rockets were interested in pursuing Jeff Van Gundy as a replacement option for D’Antoni.

The Rockets were 40-24 with the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff race at the time of these replacement rumors, so it wasn’t like they were lottery-bound and in dire need of a change mid-season.

Why is the media focused on D’Antoni’s status with Houston Rockets?

The most recent rumors as it pertains to D’Antoni came on Wednesday morning, as it was reported that the Indiana Pacers were interested in D’Antoni as an option to replace Nate McMillan, who the Pacers abruptly parted ways with. With all the attention on D’Antoni’s status and standing with the Rockets, one can’t help but question why there’s been so much focus placed on this situation.

The Rockets are in the middle of a playoff run, so there’s no reason for the rumors and reports to have been circulating to the extent that they have, and one can’t help but notice the lack of coverage towards other coaches who were also in shaky situations. For example, former New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry had been on shaky ground all season, with new Pels GM David Griffin having not hired Gentry to start with.

Griffin was sure to bring in his own guy, yet we didn’t exactly hear the same level of coverage towards Gentry as we did with D’Antoni. This was also the case with former Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown, who wasn’t hired by current GM Elton Brand.

Brown under-performed and under-delivered, despite having two marquee players in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, yet we didn’t hear the same level of coverage with Brown as we did with D’Antoni. Both Brown and Gentry had worse records than D’Antoni did with the Rockets this season, so why was there such a lack of coverage throughout the season with those two, compared to D’Antoni?

One can’t help but notice the heightened amount of coverage towards D’Antoni and the Rockets during their pursuit of a title run, and it certainly seems as if there’s been an agenda by the national media. The Rockets have kept quiet about the situation, aside from Rockets GM Daryl Morey singing D’Antoni’s praises publicly.

Next. Is Tucker the x-factor for the Rockets?

Whether the media’s goal is to distract the Rockets or to create friction/tension within the organization, the Rockets haven’t allowed it to happen, and have remained locked in on the goal.