Houston Rockets news: Mike D’Antoni officially declares he’s moving on

Houston Rockets Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

As many expected following another premature playoff loss, Mike D’Antoni announced he would not be returning to the Houston next season.

It was the world’s worst-kept secret, but it was clear that the Houston Rockets and Mike D’Antoni were destined to part ways if the team came up short again in the playoffs. After failing to make it past the second round for the third time in four seasons, D’Antoni informed the team he’d become a free agent and won’t be returning to H-Town next year.

The move is a win-win for both sides, as the Houston Rockets need a fresh perspective and new approach to the game instead of rehashing the same rinse-and-repeat formula that hasn’t been working. Meanwhile, D’Antoni should be coveted by multiple teams looking for an offensive boost and innovative strategies.

Early rumblings suggest the Philadelphia 76ers as one of the frontrunners as a new landing spot for D’Antoni, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski shared on Twitter.

D’Antoni will be considered among a group of candidates for the Philadelphia 76ers coaching opening, sources tell ESPN. D'Antoni was an assistant for several months under Brett Brown before accepting the Rockets job four years ago. https://t.co/MeoUrwWADm

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 13, 2020

There will likely be a long, thorough process when it comes to deciding the team’s next head coach, but some early candidates include Sam Cassell, Kenny Atkinson, and Tyronn Lue.

With a head coaching vacancy in Houston, expect the franchise to take a strong look at Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue.

— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 13, 2020

It’s too early to give any odds in terms of favorites to take over Mike D’Antoni’s position, but as the Rockets begin interviewing and weeding through the candidates, the picture should become clearer in no time.

Mike D’Antoni departs Houston with a 217-101 record in the regular season and a 28-23 record in the playoffs. His 68.2 percent regular-season record with the Rockets is the highest percentage he’s had with any team, followed closely by the Phoenix Suns at 65 percent.

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D’Antoni did plenty of good in H-Towny, but the move is for the benefit of both sides. Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for extensive coverage of coaching prospects, breaking news on the search, and more.