Why the Rockets bear the blame for JJ Redick's interview with the Raptors

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
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Throughout the 2022-23 season, the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets both had one thing in common: each team was rumored to be potentially making a coaching change at the end of the season. The Rockets were expected to part ways with Stephen Silas, while the Raptors were possibly going to part ways with Nick Nurse, depending on how far they advanced in the playoffs.

The Rockets knew they wouldn't qualify for postseason play and made the swift decision to decline Silas' option, kickstarting their head coaching search imminently. The Raptors made the play-in tournament and had to wait a little longer to decide what they would do with Nurse, one way or another.

And although the Rockets reportedly liked Nurse, they wisely decided to get the ball rolling on that front, as opposed to waiting on Nurse specifically. Toronto failed to reach the playoffs, as the Raptors were sent home early after the play-in tournament.

Why the Rockets bear the blame for JJ Redick's interview with the Raptors

Toronto was rumored to have had Ime Udoka on their short list of coaching candidates, as he and Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri have a long-lasting relationship, due in part to their affiliation with Nigerian basketball in the FIBA international league. Udoka happened to have had interest in the Rockets' job as well, and knew he had to make a decision soon on that vacancy, as the Rockets wanted to wrap up their coaching search sooner than later.

This meant that by the time the Raptors reached a decision on parting ways with Nurse, Udoka had already began to speak with the Rockets' brass. From there, the interview was scheduled fairly quickly, before the Raptors were even able to set something up with the former Boston Celtics coach. 

The Rockets ultimately hired Udoka before Toronto was able to conduct any interviews in their process, leaving Ujiri's Raps without any contingency plan. For this reason, the Raptors ultimately added former NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick to their shortlist of coaching candidates and granted him an interview, which was viewed as a desperation play by many. And understandably so, as replacing a former Coach of the Year and championship coach with a ESPN analyst and would-be first-time head coach is a major downgrade.

But ultimately what Toronto's interest in Redick shows is the fact that the Raps didn't plan to lose out on Udoka, and once they did, they didn't know where to turn or how to continue along in their process. They can blame the Rockets for wisely getting their coaching search sparked fast and furiously, and nabbing potentially the best coach on the market in Udoka.