Mike D'Antoni Negotiating New Rockets Contract, Wants to Coach 2-3 More Years

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2019

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08:   Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets reacts on the side of the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 08, 2019 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said Friday he's in talks with the organization about a contract extension that could take him to the end of his career.

D'Antoni, who has one year left on his current deal, provided the update to Mark Berman of Fox 26 Sports in Houston.

"We've been in contract discussions, and we still are about the extension," he said. "I think I can go two or three more years at the level I want to be at and everything will play out in the near future."

D'Antoni has guided the Rockets to a 173-73 record across three seasons since being named head coach in June 2016. They have also won at least one playoff series each year but haven't been able to make it out of a Western Conference dominated by the Golden State Warriors.

Houston was eliminated by the Dubs in this year's conference semifinals in six games in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals, which Golden State won in seven.

"Ran up against a really good team, that's got that championship caliber," D'Antoni told Berman. "They made the big plays at the right time. We didn't. Disappointing for everybody, but at the same time proud of what the guys got accomplished. Time to retool a little bit this summer and figure out how to climb the mountain again."

The Rockets enter the offseason with their entire starting lineup—Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela—under contract for next season.

Houston could look to add a defensive-minded wing to enter the starting lineup, allowing Gordon, the 2017 Sixth Man of the Year, to return to the bench while also upgrading its defense. It will also need to re-sign or add some bench players, but the core of the team should remain intact.

In contrast, the Warriors are staring down a summer of uncertainty with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins headlining their group of free agents.

While Golden State will probably find a way to keep Thompson alongside Stephen Curry and Draymond Green and remain a top title threat, it's possible the Dubs won't be quite as unstoppable next year. That could open the door for the Rockets.

"For three years we've averaged 58 wins. I think that was the team record before we got here, and we've averaged that for three years. We're in a very good spot," D'Antoni told Berman. "We'll tweak it and try to get that little half-step better, and I think we can do it."

Based on that success, an extension for D'Antoni wouldn't come as a surprise as he attempts to focus on leading the team to its first NBA championship since its back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995.

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