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Daryl Morey: I want Mike D’Antoni to coach Rockets as long as he wants

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni, r m

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Rockets general manager Daryl Morey got his contract extension.

Now, he wants to lock up Houston coach Mike D’Antoni, whose contract expires after next season.

Morey, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“He’s such a critical factor,” Morey said. “Speaking for myself only, I would love for him to be here for as long as he wants to be here. He’s so critical to everything we’re doing here. Hopefully, that’s something we can work out at the right time. I think the right thing for everyone is those things are done in the off-season.”

That’s an unusually emphatic endorsement for an NBA head coach. The Warriors’ Steve Kerr and Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle also have “as long as he wants” backing. Otherwise, I’m not sure not sure of another coach with such strong support from his boss. (It helps Spurs coach Gregg Popovich that his boss is Spurs president Gregg Popovich.)

When given players who fit his style, D’Antoni is an excellent coach – so good that it’d be foolish not to get him fitting players. Coaches must earn having a roster built around them. D’Antoni has.

D’Antoni is an offensive innovator. He has adjusted his system around James Harden and Chris Paul, but the ways Houston hunts the most efficient shots is still incredible.

D’Antoni’s interest in defense remains passing. The Rockets have Jeff Bzdelik for that.

In stints with the Nuggets, Suns and Knicks, D’Antoni never coached more than four full seasons anywhere. He’s in his third full season with the Rockets. Maybe this partnership will last longer.