Mike D'Antoni, Rockets Talking New Contract, Ready for 'At Least' 3 More Years

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIMay 20, 2019

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 136-122.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni has made clear his desire to stay with the franchise "for at least another three years," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday night.  

"I've let [general manager] Daryl [Morey] and [team owner] Tilman [Fertitta] know that I'm energized to keep coaching—and believe that I can continue to do this at a high level for at least another three years," the 68-year-old two-time Coach of the Year told Wojnarowski. "I want to be a part of a championship here."

D'Antoni stepped in as Houston's head coach in 2016 and has a 173-73 record with the franchise, but his Rockets have seen their season end at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in two consecutive years. This time, the Warriors ousted the Rockets 4-2 in the Western Conference semifinals.

"Well, this one's gonna leave a mark," D'Antoni told reporters following the Rockets' 118-113 season-ending Game 6 loss May 10. "This is not something you just get over with." 

Wojnarowski included in his report that Fertitta labeled the Rockets losing to the Warriors yet again "unacceptable," and there could be further changes to D'Antoni's staff ahead of next season. Jeff Bzdelik, a top assistant responsible for shaping the Houston defense who briefly retired before the start of 2018-19, has already been told he won't be back. 

As it stands now, D'Antoni is entering the final year of his contract. However, Fertitta offered encouraging comments about the coach's future while speaking to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen

"Mike will be the coach next year. He's not a lame duck to me. That's just a media term. That's just a media buzzword. ... We're more concerned with making our team better next year. Mike will be here. I like Mike. I think he's a very good coach. Players like playing for him. I keep being told, free agents want to know who the owner is and they want to know who the coach is. Mike and I do well together. Hopefully, we'll continue to win and Mike will be here for a long time."

From a player standpoint, reigning NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden is entering his age-30 season while All-Star point guard Chris Paul turned 34 earlier this month.  

Secondary to the Rockets' willingness to extend him, D'Antoni's window to bring Houston its first championship since 1995 is tied to those two guards. 

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