As the Houston Rockets prepare to conduct their sixth coaching search since Hall of Fame coach Rudy Tomjanovich's reign ended at the helm, they could find themselves having a greater challenge this time around. This is especially the case if they want to bring in a big-name option, which they're rumored to have their sights set on.
The Rockets have been linked to Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse, Golden State Warriors assistant coach and former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, former Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, former Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, and former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, a list that certainly lives up to the billing of pursuing a big fish.
This is also a list that should appease the fanbase (with the exception of Brooks). But more importantly, the list of targets is proof that the Rockets will need to make some operational changes, compared to how the franchise's leaders conducted business during Silas' tenure.
The problem the Rockets will face during their next coaching search
According to Rockets beat writer Kelly Iko of The Athletic (subscription required), Rockets GM Rafael Stone (who, like Silas, had no experience in his position prior to running the show for the Rockets) would regularly attend practices, shootarounds, coaches meetings, and film sessions, both in and outside of Houston, for the purpose of adding his two cents on his own volition.
Stone reportedly went so far as to interrupt a coaching session to provide his input on the defensive side of the ball, forcing Silas to let Stone know his dismay with this behavior. If the Rockets want to secure any of the big names on the aforementioned list, this is going to have to change.
Any championship coach (like Vogel and Nurse) isn't going to be ecstatic to have his boss constantly lurking in the shadows. And neither will any proven coach that's worth his salt, which the Rockets' list of targets contains from top to bottom.
Think about it. We've all had jobs. Does it not make it more difficult (or unpleasant) when your boss is always in your ear? Nobody enjoys having a micro-manager as their superior.
The Rockets got away with this because of Silas's soft-spoken nature, in addition to the fact that he was a first-time coach. But even he didn't like it.
And although the team is armed with $61 million in cap space and the potential to add another premier talent in the 2023 NBA Draft, such a managerial style could make the job undesirable, as it would with any job in the world.
This isn't something we had heard about during former GM Daryl Morey's tenure in Houston, and we also haven't heard about during his tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers. Perhaps he can offer guidance to Stone on how to pull back a bit.
If the Rockets really want to secure one of the hottest names on the market, they are going to have to loosen some of the control and allow the next coach to do his job. If not, they could find themselves having to hire a washed-up over-the-hill coach, during a time in which they've made it known that they want to be contenders.