Rumor: Jeff Van Gundy could replace Mike D’Antoni as Rockets coach
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is in the final season of his contract. Extension negotiations last summer got messy. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has set the NBA Finals as a bar, and D’Antoni hasn’t guided Houston past the conference finals.
Tom Thibodeau has emerged as a possible replacement.
There’s even more buzz around Jeff Van Gundy.
Van Gundy previously coached Houston from 2003-07. According to Amick, former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander was behind firing Van Gundy. Van Gundy was a candidate for the Houston job in 2016 and reportedly favored by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey with Alexander objecting. Now, Alexander is out of the picture.
Since last coaching in 2007, Van Gundy has also resisted interest elsewhere, instead opting to stay at ESPN. But he recently coached the United States in World Cup qualifying. Perhaps, that signals renewed interest in returning to an NBA sideline.
So, this makes some sense from both sides.
A big complication: Will Morey remain with Houston? The Rockets could undergo a larger overhaul than just the coach.
Houston is a prime job with James Harden and Russell Westbrook still in their primes. This will be an attractive job, no matter who’s running the front office.