Mike D'Antoni Plans to Coach Rockets From Sideline in Orlando

Michael Shapiro

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni will be the second-oldest coach in Orlando when the NBA season resumes on July 30, but the 69-year-old is confident he'll be ready and able to lead his team from the sideline. 

The NBA previously noted its "concern" for coaches and staff members over 60-years-old amid the COVID-19 crisis. Yet despite some rumblings of potentially banning older coaches from the league's bubble, D'Antoni said he hasn't heard anything from the league on that front.   

"[I've heard] crickets, which is a good thing," D'Antoni told the media on a Zoom call on Wednesday. "I get why they want to be cautious, that's great. ...But other than being a little bit older, I'm ready to go. I expect to go, and I expect it will be an unbelievably great experience."

D'Antoni said the NBA's quarantine plan can't fully eliminate the chance of testing positive for COVID-19. But being in Orlando is arguably safer for D'Antoni than if he were to remain in Houston during the playoffs.

"My concern is no more than when i go to the grocery store, when I got to go to the pharmacy to get stuff," D'Antoni said. "The NBA is going to do everything they can to make it safe. That environment is a lot safer than the environment we're in now."

D'Antoni is in his fourth year as the Rockets head coach, sporting a 213–97 record with Houston. The Rockets have made the playoffs in four straight seasons with D'Antoni, reaching the Western Conference finals in 2018.

Houston enters the 2020 playoffs seeking its first Finals appearance since 1995.