Rockets Rumors: Elston Turner Returns to Houston as Lead Assistant Coach

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 7: Assistant Coach Elston Turner of the Sacramento Kings coaches against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 7, 2019 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, 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 Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets reportedly reached an agreement with Elston Turner on Thursday to be Mike D'Antoni's lead assistant coach.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Turner will primarily focus on running the defense as the replacement for Jeff Bzdelik, who parted ways with the Rockets last month.

Turner was an assistant under the Rick Adelman with the Rockets for four seasons from 2007-08 through 2010-11. He spent the past three campaigns as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings.

The 60-year-old Turner has 21 seasons of NBA coaching experience as an assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers, Kings, Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies.

Turner will join the Rockets amid upheaval. While the organization and D'Antoni are reportedly once again negotiating a contract extension, he is poised to enter 2019-20 on the final year of his deal.

The Rockets also parted ways with several of D'Antoni's assistants in May, as Bzdelik, Roy Rogers, Mitch Vanya, John Cho and Irv Roland were all let go.

Additionally, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported Wednesday that the Rockets are shopping Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker on the trade market, as they look to orchestrate a potential sign-and-trade for free agent Jimmy Butler.

Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports recently reported that sources told him the relationship between Rockets stars James Harden and Chris Paul is "unsalvageable," although Paul and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have denied the rumors.

Houston is just two seasons removed from posting the NBA's best record and reaching Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Last season, the Rockets lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

In Turner, the Rockets are adding an experienced assistant who also appeared in 505 regular-season games as a player with the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls.