Manager Mike D’Antoni, a free agent now that the Houston Rockets have been eliminated from the NBA playoffs, said his preference would be to stay with the organization.
This is also the hope of James Harden, the face of the franchise.
“Certainly. Certainly,” Harden said after the Rockets’ 119-96 season finale defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday night in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “Mike did amazing things here.”
The Rockets went 217-101 during D’Antoni’s four seasons in Houston, plus 28-23 in the playoffs, advancing past the first round each season and to Game 7 of the Western Finals in 201
D’Antoni, 69, spent this season in the final year of his contract after discussions about the extension twice broke the last offseason in unusually public fashion. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and D’Antoni’s longtime agent Warren LeGarie have publicly blamed each other for failing to reach agreement on an extension.
However, D’Antoni expressed appreciation for the Rockets organization on Saturday night when he reiterated his intention to continue coaching, both in Houston and elsewhere.
“We have a great organization, a great city, great fans, a great team,” D’Antoni said. “I mean, everything is fine here. We’ll see what happens, but I couldn’t ask for a better situation. I had four years. I hope it continues, but you never know. But everything is fine on this side, for sure.
“It was fun. It’s still fun. You always hate losing. It’s always a bit bittersweet, but I couldn’t ask better people to work with and better players to work with. A lot of things stand out, a lot of small things, but I sure have spent four fantastic years. “
D’Antoni is considered a prominent candidate in the Indiana Pacers’ coaching research, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported. Sources told ESPN that at least one other team with a managerial position has a strong interest in D’Antoni.
D’Antoni, who has a career record of 672-527, is widely credited for revolutionizing the NBA bout. His Phoenix Suns “Seven Seconds or Less” teams broke conventional norms by pushing the pace and pulling more 3-pointers than any team to date, a style of play that has been adopted across the league a decade and a half. half after. The Rockets have pushed the extremes even further, setting records for 3 attempts in each of D’Antoni’s first three years and demolishing the traditional center position this season.
D’Antoni, whose Phoenix teams flourished with Steve Nash as the pick-and-roll master, adapted his offensive system to play to Harden’s strengths as a historically elite player of isolation in Houston. Harden, whose move to point guard was D’Antoni’s first big decision with the Rockets, thrived in their four seasons together, winning an assist title, three scoring titles and an MVP award.
“The experience was fantastic – it mainly moved me to the point guard, the ball manager and I came up with different schemes and fundamentally changed the game,” said Harden, who had 30 points and five assists in Game 5 lost. “It was an incredible experience. A tough season for us. Obviously, it didn’t end as we wanted. We just have to figure it out.”
D’Antoni said he hasn’t given much thought to his potential options if he doesn’t return to the Rockets.
“First, I’ll go straight back to my room to have a little pity party,” D’Antoni said. “Then later, we’ll find out. Right now, this still burns enough to not think about much more than this for a while.”