The Rockets are planning to interview a deep pool of candidates for their head coaching vacancy, and another high-profile name could be added to the list.
Houston is reportedly interested in interviewing former Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. And it’s not hard to see why. Rivers is one of the NBA’s most accomplished coaches, amassing 943 regular-season wins and 16 playoff appearances in 21 seasons as a head coach. Rivers led the Celtics to the Finals in 2008 and 2010. He brought the Clippers to championship contention immediately upon his arrival in Los Angeles. Perhaps Rivers could be the final piece to take the Rockets over the top in the ninth year of the James Harden era.
Rivers is far from the only candidate as Houston searches for a new head coach. The Rockets are reportedly set to begin interviewing candidates on Wednesday or Thursday, with Tyronn Lue, Jeff Van Gundy, Kenny Atkinson and Sam Cassell noted as potential candidates, per Feigen.
Rivers' departure from Los Angeles could potentially cloud the Houston’s coaching search. Both Lue and Cassell are current Clippers assistants, and Los Angeles could choose to go with an internal hire ahead of 2020-21. Lue is the most likely candidate given his championship pedigree, but after six seasons as an assistant coach in Los Angeles, perhaps Cassell will be tabbed for the role.
Whomever Houston chooses to hire will join an organization with true championship expectations. Mike D'Antoni posted a 217–101 record in four seasons with the Rockets, reaching the second round of the postseason in all four years. D'Antoni helped mold the Rockets into Finals contenders, but Houston has fallen short in recent seasons. His replacement will be expected to reach heights unseen in the D'Antoni era.