When the Houston Rockets' coaching gig became available, the name that was assumed by many to become the franchise's 16th coach was Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. The connections were obvious, as Nurse had previously been the head coach of the Rockets' G-League affiliate Rio Grande Vipers, winning the G-League's Coach of the Year in 2011.
The league's insiders reported that the Rockets wanted to interview Nurse for their head coaching vacancy, along with a bevy of others, including former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, former Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel, and a trio of other assistants.
It's been suggested that Udoka may not be interested in the Rockets' vacancy, as a rebuild may not be enticing for someone who recently reached the NBA Finals. And according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Nurse might not be an option for the Rockets either, as the Raptors may decide to bring the championship coach from their 2018-19 back, which Wojnarowski alluded to on ESPN's NBA Countdown.
Wojnarowski's latest report spells doom for Rockets' chances of landing Nick Nurse
"Nick Nurse is the wild card in this coaching carousel around the league. Certainly the Houston Rockets are watching very closely into Toronto to see how this plays out. I think there's still a pathway forward though in Toronto and Masai Ujiri, their president and Nick Nurse.
I think their communication has been good lately. And they'll talk whenever this season ends. It's been an underachieving Raptors team but they've been alot better since they added Jakob Poeltl, the trade deadline deal.
With Nick Nurse certainly still under contract next season in Toronto, making around 8 million dollars. He's been a significant piece in the history of this Raptors organization, leading them to their only championship as head coach."
Nurse returning to Toronto would be a blow to the Rockets' search but based on reports that the Rockets are expected to grant Vogel a second interview, they may have been prepared for this all along.
It'll be interesting to see what happens in the coming days between Nurse and the Raps.