Tilman Fertitta Thanks Mike D'Antoni After Departure From Rockets

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Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta penned a message thanking former head coach Mike D'Antoni on Sunday, noting his appreciation for D'Antoni's four years in Houston. 

“I would like to thank Mike D’Antoni and his wife, Laurel, for their incredible contributions to the Houston Rockets organization and the Houston community,” Fertitta wrote. “Mike is a true professional and an amazing basketball mind. He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have had such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons. We wish Mike and Laurel nothing but success and happiness in their next chapter.”

D'Antoni notified Rockets' ownership on Sunday that he would not return to Houston after one of the best stretches in franchise history. Houston posted a 217–101 regular-season record in four years with D'Antoni, reaching the playoffs in four straight seasons. The Rockets got within one win of the Finals in 2018, but they've now been eliminated in the second round in each of the last two playoffs. 

"The Rockets are a historic NBA franchise with fantastic fans and we've been proud to join with you to play a part in some of the successes here in Houston," D'Antoni said in a statement on Sunday. "From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making us feel like true Houstonians. For that, we will always be truly grateful."

Houston will now kick off what should be a fascinating coaching search as it approaches the ninth season of the James Harden era. Clippers assistants Tyronn Lue and Sam Cassell have been reported as potential candidates to replace D'Antoni along with former Houston head coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy.