Mike D'Antoni Reportedly Hired as Houston Rockets Head Coach

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets have reportedly found their next head coach after an extensive search that featured multiple candidates.

Continue for updates. 

D'Antoni Reportedly Will Be Next Rockets Coach

Thursday, May 26

The Rockets are "finalizing" a deal with Philadelphia 76ers associate head coach Mike D'Antoni to become their next head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

D'Antoni's contract will be for four years and $16 million, per Wojnarowski.

Marc Berman of Fox 26 in Houston confirmed that D'Antoni will be the Rockets' next head coach. 

Memphis Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik and Washington Wizards assistant Roy Rogers are "strong" candidates to be added to the staff, per Wojnarowski

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported on May 19 that if the two sides reach a deal, the "assumption in league circles is that Dwight Howard's days in Houston are over," noting the two did not get along when Howard was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers

Rockets in on Borrego

Tuesday, May 24

Marc Stein of ESPN, citing "NBA coaching sources," reported that San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego "has progressed to a meeting this week with owner Les Alexander."

On May 20, Stein first reported of the Rockets' interest in Borrego.

Rockets to Meet with Griffin

Saturday, May 21

The Rockets will interview Orlando Magic assistant coach Adrian Griffin, who was a finalist for the Orlando opening earlier in the offseason, per Berman.

Bzdelik Interviews with Rockets

Thursday, May 19

Bzdelik met with the Rockets on Thursday regarding their head coaching vacancy, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated. Spears added he also met with the Grizzlies regarding their opening on Wednesday.

Kalamian Reportedly Met with Rockets

Thursday, May 19

Stein reported Toronto Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian interviewed with the Rockets.

Blatt Remains in Contention for Rockets Job

Thursday, May 19

Stein reported former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt "remains up for the head coaching job in Houston" despite D'Antoni's front-runner status.

Stein, citing NBA coaching sources May 9, reported Blatt would meet with Houston to discuss the franchise's coaching vacancy.

Van Gundy Out of Rockets Contention

Wednesday, May 18

Wojnarowski reported Jeff Van Gundy is no longer a candidate for the Rockets coaching job and noted that despite interest from the coach, the two sides never actually met to discuss his joining the team.

On May 16, Berger reported Van Gundy was "gaining momentum" as the Rockets' top choice to fill the franchise's head coaching vacancy.

Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times reported May 13 that Van Gundy "remains a finalist and may indeed be the front-runner" for the Rockets head coaching job.

On April 27, Wojnarowski reported the Rockets are expected to go "big-game hunting" for their next coach and that their search will begin with Van Gundy.

On April 20, Stein reported Van Gundy was one of Houston's top candidates.

Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of The Vertical reported April 18 that Van Gundy was "at the top of the [Rockets'] list of potential candidates."

Messina Interviews for Rockets Job

Tuesday, May 17

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reported Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina interviewed with the Rockets last Saturday.

Smith Reportedly Out of the Running

Monday, May 16

Feigen reported Kenny Smith is no longer a candidate for the Houston job, citing "a person with knowledge of the decision."

On May 9, Feigen reported Smith would interview with the franchise. Berman first reported on Houston's interest in Smith.

Rockets Reportedly Interested in College Coaching Pair

Wednesday, May 4

Stein reported Houston is "intrigued" by Texas Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart and Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self, though he cautioned he "can't speak to the NBA aspirations of either one."

Bickerstaff Removes Name from Rockets Coaching Search

Wednesday, May 4

Bickerstaff has informed the team he's no longer an option for the head coaching vacancy, according to Wojnarowski.

Cassell Interviews for Coaching Job

Wednesday, May 4

Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell met with Houston owner Les Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey on Monday, per Wojnarowski.

"Cassell is a popular former Rockets player for whom owner Les Alexander has a strong fondness," stated Wojnarowski.

Harden Reportedly Will Be Involved in Head Coach Search

Wednesday, April 27

Watkins reported Alexander and Morey believe James Harden will play a role in the head coach hiring process, whereas Howard is not expected to.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Rockets, I'm told, are highly intrigued by the structure and discipline Tom Thibodeau could instill after a season of slippage in both.

Next Rockets Head Coach Has Issues to Address

The Rockets finished the season 41-41, earning the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

After the team fired Kevin McHale in November 2015 following a 4-7 start to the season, Bickerstaff took over and led it to a 37-34 record. Bickerstaff had his own challenges, though, at one point calling his team "broken" in February, per Watkins:

We're broken. It's that simple. We're a broken team, and we all need to use this break to figure out how we're going to impact change. If we don't want to impact change, then we need to be made aware of that, too, and we'll go in a different direction. We can't continue to go out and play this way. It's easy to see it's a fragmented bunch. You can't win that way.

Indeed, D'Antoni will not have it easy. The team doesn't appear to have much chemistry; Harden remains allergic to playing defense, and it's questionable if he and Howard have ever jelled.

Houston is a team loaded with talent. The task for D'Antoni will be finally getting that talent on the same page.

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