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Coaching rumors: Changes may be coming to Rockets, Raptors

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Head coach Stephen Silas of the Houston Rockets looks on against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game at Chase Center on February 24, 2023 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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The Atlanta Hawks didn’t wait for the season to end to make their change at coach (in part because they wanted to snap up Quin Snyder before other teams came calling).

More coaching changes are coming once the season ends. Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports talked about some potential changes that have had increasing buzz around the league in recent weeks.

The most likely change is in Houston where, in the words of GM Rafael Stone, the Rockets are “coming to the end of the first stage” of their rebuilding. While young stars such as Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. will remain at the core of the team, they are expected to spend a lot of the up to $60 million in cap space they have to bring in established talent and upgrade the roster (a James Harden return is possible... not likely, but possible). With that, Fischer says to expect a new coach.

Stephen Silas currently holds the position as Rockets head coach, but Houston is widely expected by league officials to make a change on its bench once his contract concludes at the end of this season.

Who Houston targets as a coach will be a tell about their offseason plans. If they chase Scott Brooks — former Oklahoma City coach now on the bench in Portland — they will be looking at a guy who coached Harden before and has a strong relationship with him. Something to consider.

In Toronto, Nick Nurse himself hinted it could be time for a coaching change, saying recently that after the season he was “going to take a few weeks to see where I’m at… where my head’s at. And just see how the relationship with the organization is.” Fischer said both sides are reconsidering their relationship.

Nurse’s comments certainly suggested he could depart the franchise on his own volition, while Raptors officials, sources told Yahoo Sports, have been openly evaluating Nurse’s current fit at the position after leading Toronto to its only championship in 2019.

Ime Udoka, the suspended Celtics coach, is a name mentioned in Toronto as a possible replacement (his name also came up in Houston rumors). If Nurse leaves Toronto, Houston would also be interested in him (as would other teams making a change).

One other name to watch that Fischer brings up: Dwane Casey in Detroit. Another franchise looking to make a big step next season and at least be in the mix for a play-in spot (with Cade Cunningham back, a re-signed Bojan Bogdanovic, good young players such as Jaden Ivey and Isaiah Stewart, plus whoever they get in the draft). Is Casey the right guy to lead them? The sides will talk.