Reports: Rockets hiring Mike D’Antoni as head coach
The Houston Rockets are reportedly finalizing a four-year deal to make Mike D’Antoni their head coach, The Vertical reports.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle confirmed the team has chosen D’Antoni.
D’Antoni spent most of last season as the associate head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was the architect of the highly successful Phoenix Suns teams of the mid-2000s, whom he led to the playoffs in four straight seasons playing a fast-paced style.
The Vertical reports the Rockets plan to assemble an experienced, deep coaching staff, potentially including former Nuggets head coach Jeff Bzdelik to build the defense.
The Rockets ran what was reportedly an extensive, wide-ranging coaching search to replace interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. The team comes off a disappointing season and first-round playoff exit. Bickerstaff replaced Kevin McHale early in the season, following a trip to the Western Conference Finals in the 2015 playoffs.
D’Antoni, 65, last served as head coach with the L.A. Lakers from 2012–2014, and also coached the New York Knicks from 2008–2012. He holds a career head coaching record of 455–426 over parts of 12 seasons.
The offensive-minded D’Antoni inherits a star player to build around in James Harden, who is also known for his offensive prowess. It is unclear whether center Dwight Howard will remain with the team, or exercise his opt-out and test free agency.