Sports | September 13, 2020 4:43 pm

Mike D’Antoni Tells Houston Rockets He Will Not Return as Head Coach

D'Antoni finishes his Rockets tenure with a 217-102 record

Mike D'Antoni tells the Houston Rockets he will not return as head coach.
Coach Mike D'Antoni argues with referee Tony Brothers about a call
Getty Images

The Houston Rockets partnership with Mike D’Antoni is no more. According to ESPN, the head coach of the Rockets notified the franchise that he will not negotiate a new contract. D’Antoni’s contract expired with Houston after their playoff exit last night in the NBA bubble.

In a statement to ESPN, D’Antoni confirmed his departure:

It’s with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we’ll be moving to a new chapter,

D’Antoni’s contract situation has been one of the more significant storylines for the Rockets all season. Last summer, the Rockets offered D’Antoni a one-year contract with performance-based incentives. After the offer, D’Antoni and his agent, Warren LeGarie, ended contract negotiations.

There are sure to be many suitors for D’Antoni. The Indiana Pacers have been rumored to have serious interest in the head coach since they axed Nate McMillan. The Philadelphia 76ers are also likely to consider D’Antoni — he was an associate head coach for the club during the 2015-16 season.

D’Antoni was hired by the Rockets in 2016. He finishes his four-year tenure in Houston with a 217-102 regular season record and a 28-23 playoff record. Houston dropped their conference semifinals series with the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1.

On the Houston Rockets side of the split, they are rumored to have eyes on former head coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy. The head coach position is just one of multiple changes expected in Houston. General manager Daryl Morey’s future in Houston is cloudy.

No matter who is coaching or in the front office, they will have some work to do. Houston is stuck with a stale roster. They owe a combine $263 million to stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook over the next three seasons, and with no first-round draft pick in the offseason and a lack of flexibility to add talent, improving their roster will be a tall order.

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