3 Lessons the Rockets learned from the Doc Rivers saga
1. Rockets must move swiftly as it pertains to interviewing candidates
The Rockets have been behind the eight-ball as it pertains to their process of conducting interviews. In fact, the Rockets have yet to interview any of their coaching targets, as they’ve just started lining up interviews.
The Rockets’ have received permission to interview Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas, Denver Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., Minnesota Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool, and are expected to land an interview with Tyronn Lue.
The Rockets wanted to interview Doc Rivers, but weren’t given the opportunity, as the Philadelphia 76ers took him off the market before the Rockets had a chance to. The same thing could happen with Lue, as he opted to interview with the New Orleans Pelicans first, which would reunite him with Pelicans GM David Griffin, who he won a title with during his stint as the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach.
Lue has also been mentioned as a possibility for the Clippers job, which would make sense, as he was Rivers’ lead assistant with the Clips. In that case, Lue could very well line up an interview with the Clippers before the Rockets get a chance, depending on how much he values that job.
The Rockets will have to move swiftly and urgently if they want to land a top coach, as their competition around the league is doing the same. In fact, Jeff Van Gundy is a name that’s been floated around, and he’s been mentioned as a potential candidate for the LA Clippers job.
The Rockets have yet to even schedule an interview with Van Gundy, and it’s entirely possible that the Clippers could beat them to the punch, if they do in fact have interest. It was rumored that the Rockets had interest in Tom Thibodeau, but he was the first name taken off the market, as the New York Knicks went above and beyond to employ his services.
The Rockets will certainly miss out on many coaching options if they intend to make this a long, drawn-out process, which is what they did in 2016 upon hiring D’Antoni. If the Houston Rockets intend to hire younger, first-time head coaches, then the slow approach won’t hurt them.
But if they’re hoping to land a championship coach, like Lue, they may miss out by adopting this approach. At least they did with Doc Rivers.