Mike D'Antoni Joins Rockets on Flight to Orlando

Michael Shapiro

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni joined the team on their flight to Orlando on Thursday, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.

D'Antoni, 69, will be the second-oldest coach in Orlando behind Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. He said on Tuesday he has "no apprehension," about coaching the Rockets in Orlando, noting his confidence in the NBA's bubble plan. 

Houston's head coach added he will wear a mask as he coaches from the sidelines at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

"The big thing is, you wear a mask for other people," D'Antoni said. "I do it for my players, I do it for my coaches, I do it for the people that I care about, so i wear a mask. And that's what I do walking down the street here, going into a grocery store."

D'Antoni is in his 16th year as an NBA head coach, and his fourth with the Rockets. Houston has reached the playoffs in four straight seasons with D'Antoni, winning 50-plus games in each of the last three years before 2019-20. D'Antoni is currently No. 3 on the Rockets' all-time win list, four wins away from passing Bill Fitch for the No. 2 spot. 

The Rockets will hold their first practice in Orlando on Saturday as they prepare for the NBA's resumption of play on July 30. Houston will hold a trio of scrimmages in the coming weeks ahead of the regular-season opener on July 31. Tip-off against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks is slated for 8 p.m. CT.