Mark Berman: Jeff Van Gundy just left #Rockets owner @TilmanJFertitta office where he met with the Rockets for a second time as team officials continue the process to find their next head coach.
Marc Stein: Jeff Van Gundy remains a co-finalist in Houston and was still talking to the Rockets today after their initial interview Wednesday But Lucas, league sources say, has at least three key admirers in the organization: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and new Rockets GM Rafael Stone
Salman Ali: Wrote about this yesterday: Don't dismiss the idea of John Lucas as a head coach candidate. It cannot be understated how beloved he is by the players and organization.
Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue's candidacy for the Rockets' head-coaching job has gathered significant momentum after a meeting with Houston's ownership and management Monday, sources told ESPN. The Rockets are competing with the Clippers for Lue and could try to extend an offer before Los Angeles has completed its search process, but that isn't expected to happen before Houston meets with former coach Jeff Van Gundy this week, sources said.
Van Gundy, currently an analyst for ESPN, has been a favorite of Rockets ownership and management, and he is known to prefer the idea of coaching in his adopted home city to avoid uprooting his family. Van Gundy, 58, has been active as a coach with USA Basketball in recent years, but he hasn't coached in the NBA since resigning with the Rockets in 2007. Van Gundy was 430-318 in the regular season and 44-44 in the postseasons in parts of 11 seasons with Rockets and Knicks.
Both Lue and Van Gundy are prominent parts of the Rockets' and Clippers' coaching searches -- and Lue has been the Clippers' front-runner since Doc Rivers was dismissed on Sept. 28, sources said. Lue's candidacy has the support of prominent players on both teams, sources said. Houston had initially wanted to hire Rivers to replace Mike D'Antoni, sources said, but his talks with the 76ers moved quickly to a resolution.
Marc Stein: The Rockets have scheduled an interview Wednesday with ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy for their coaching vacancy, league sources say
Marc Stein: The Rockets interviewed Clippers assistant Ty Lue on Monday -- Lue is also being pursued by the Clippers and New Orleans -- and Rockets assistant coach John Lucas is expected to interview for the Houston vacancy after Van Gundy
The Rockets moved their coaching search to the former head coach portion of the process, a person with knowledge of the effort to choose a successor said on Monday. Team officials have met with their director of player development John Lucas before Monday’s interviews with former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, the individual said, adding that the Rockets also expect to meet with their former head coach Jeff Van Gundy now that his broadcasting duties for ABC/ESPN are complete for the season.
The Rockets have not ruled out expanding the interviews beyond the seven planned, but have been pleased with the sessions so far, according to the individual with knowledge of the process so far. Finalists could be brought back for follow-ups, but the sessions have included brief introductions with Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta before longer sessions with general manager Daryl Morey and others in basketball operations.
Mark Berman: Tyronn Lue, interviewing with the #Rockets, played here during the 2004-05 season: “Just playing with T-Mac & Yao Ming. That was unbelievable..It was a great experience for me and also being able to be coached by Jeff Van Gundy, who’s one of the great coaches in the NBA.” pic.twitter.com/WAAE2mvIaF
Mark Berman: Tyronn Lue,in Houston to interview with the #Rockets, believes his knowledge of the #Rockets is a plus: “It helps b/c I’ve seen those guys play. Seeing Russell play & James play..being around them..knowing u can help them in a lot of different ways. I just want to be part of that”
Mark Berman: Tyronn Lue in Houston to interview w/ the #Rockets: “It means a lot just to have an opportunity to come in & interview for a head coaching job here in Houston. It’s very exciting..having an opportunity to have a chance to coach 2 MVP players in Russell Westbrook & James Harden..”
Brian Windhorst of ESPN: "All of us know Jeff Van Gundy. He’s a colleague. He really badly wants to get back into coaching. He’s really tried to reinvigorate his career. He really wants another job, and Houston is his home."
Marc Stein: Ty Lue is scheduled to interview with the Rockets early next week for Houston's coaching vacancy, league sources say Also expected in Houston in the near future: Interviews for current Rockets staffer John Lucas and ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy (who calls Game 5 of the Finals tonight)
After five seasons in Denver, where Unseld Jr. helped transform the Nuggets from a middling defensive team to one that finished 10th in defensive rating last season, Malone’s top assistant is in the running for at least two jobs. Unseld Jr. has already interviewed for the Houston Rockets head coaching vacancy and was scheduled to interview for the Los Angeles Clippers job on Thursday, a league source told The Denver Post.
After five seasons in Denver, where Wes Unseld Jr. helped transform the Nuggets from a middling defensive team to one that finished 10th in defensive rating last season, Malone’s top assistant is in the running for at least two jobs. Unseld Jr. has already interviewed for the Houston Rockets head coaching vacancy and was scheduled to interview for the Los Angeles Clippers job on Thursday, a league source told The Denver Post.
Mark Berman: NBA sources: #Rockets process to find their next coach includes @Denver Nuggets ass’t Wes Unseld Jr,who has interviewed.Rockets also met with @Dallas Mavericks ass’t Stephen Silas, @Minnesota Timberwolves assoc HC David Vanterpool & sources confirm former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has also interviewed
Alykhan Bijani: Kenny Atkinson interviewed for the Houston #Rockets head coach position this week, league sources tell me and @Kelly Iko
Marc Stein: Tyronn Lue has completed sitdowns with the Clippers and the Pelicans about their coaching openings ... and Lue's interview for the Rockets' coaching vacancy, league sources say, will now take place this week after it was moved from the weekend
Marc Stein: John Lucas is an emerging candidate in the Rockets' search for a new head coach, league sources say. Lucas served as the Rockets' player development coach on Mike D'Antoni's staff for the past four seasons and has strong working relationships with Rockets star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Get Up: It is not a forgone conclusion that Ty Lue will end up as the Clippers' next head coach, according to @wojespn. "I'm told he's going to meet with New Orleans soon. Houston wants to talk him."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Minnesota Timberwolves associate HC David Vanterpool will interview for the Houston Rockets head coaching job, sources tell ESPN. Vanterpool spent seven seasons on Portland staff before becoming the top assistant with Minnesota a year ago.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston and New Orleans are among teams planning to interview Clippers assistant Ty Lue in near future, sources tell ESPN. The Clippers are expected to begin meeting with coaching candidates soon -- and Lue will be prominent in that search to replace Doc Rivers.
Lue, a former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, has some options. The Clippers reached out to him Monday about being a candidate to replace Rivers, who is a close friend, according to sources. Sources added that representatives of the New Orleans Pelicans are scheduled to fly to the West Coast for an informal meeting with Lue on Friday. He’s also scheduled to interview for the Houston Rockets job next week. But Lue is interested in coaching the Sixers.
The Rockets do have interest in Rivers, a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said. They were expecting and likely still plan to begin requesting permission to speak with candidates or scheduling meetings by Wednesday or Thursday. Those candidates are expected to include Tyronn Lue, Jeff Van Gundy, Kenny Atkinson, Wes Unseld Jr., Stephen Silas and possibly Sam Cassell.
Marc Stein: ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy, about to broadcast the NBA Finals, is suddenly a candidate for two coaching vacancies Van Gundy has admirers with the Clippers (most notably Lawrence Frank) as well as Houston (Daryl Morey wanted JVG in 2016 and Tilman Fertitta is also said to be a fan)
Can ‘Sam I Am’ the guard whisperer work his magic in Clutch City? The more I hear about Cassell — either from players or folks around the league — the more a fit makes sense. Jovan’s description only strengthens that stance, looking at the main points of his analysis and identifying what Houston needs. Cassell would be a first-time head coach should he accept the job, but it’s hard to argue the fit. For those that walk the storyline/narrative route, you’d be bringing back an influential guard who was a part of the most successful era in team history. The Steve Nash hire in Brooklyn raised a few eyebrows, but the knowledge of the game is there, the experience is there, the savviness is there. Cassell possesses all of those qualities in spades. For the sheer ‘prodigal son’ championship feel, I’d have a hard time believing ownership wouldn’t be jumping at that opportunity.
Brian Windhorst on Rockets' coaching search: Keep an eye on former Rocket, a guy who won a championship in Houston, Sam Cassell. And if not him, one of the favorites is our colleague here at ESPN, former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, in the mix for this job.
Mike D’Antoni is out as head coach of the Rockets. You’ve been petitioning for your former teammate Sam Cassell to replace him. What about Cassell makes you think he’s the best option? Vernon Maxwell: I just feel like it’s his time. He’s been on the bench as an assistant coach for 15 years [Cassell started coaching in 2009]. I get tired of these owners and general managers, they just recycle all these goddamn coaches. You’ve gotta try something new. You’ve gotta give them a chance to see what they can do, and I don’t think that’s fair to guys like Sam. They need to give him a chance and a legit shot. Let him bring in his people that he wants and I think he’ll do fine. He’s ready now.
How serious of a candidate is Ty Lue for the coaching position? It’s kinda hard to gauge, no ?—considering that the sample size of him as a head coach is rather small. — Daniel B. Kelly Iko: Lue is a serious candidate. I respectfully disagree with the notion that his sample size is hard to gauge. Remember it was Lue who took over the job from David Blatt midway through the 2016 season and led the Cavaliers to the promised land, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to steal a Game 7 win in Oakland. That of course takes LeBron James, but also coaching guts. During his stint in Cleveland, Lue led the Cavs to three straight Finals appearances. I’m fairly certain anyone within the Rockets organization would take those odds, especially being able to garner the respect of the greatest player in the world and compete on the league’s highest platform.
Jonathan Feigen: Tilman Fertitta on the coaching search: "It begins and end with the general manager. That's why you have a basketball operations team. They'll make a recommendation to me. I'm the sign off guys. I wouldn't know how to interview a basketball coach."
March 6, 2021 | 9:32 pm EST Update
Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton has not been shy about his desire to dive back into the NBA—as a coach. He told Yahoo! Sports last October that he had conversations about joining a coaching staff, “but the timing wasn’t right. I believe I now am ready to coach.” He did not, in the end, join a staff for this season, but now Payton says something is in the works and that could change shortly.
He was coy with specifics, but when asked, he told me about his desire to coach, “It is still the case. I got a surprise coming for a lot of people pretty soon. I don’t want to announce it right now, but you’ll see it pretty soon in the next couple of weeks, I hope everybody will be excited about it.”
He didn’t name any teams, but Payton has said he would like to work with young players, and logical speculation would hold that he could land in Atlanta to mentor star guard Trae Young. Payton’s old teammate and close friend, Nate McMillan, took over the Hawks job after Lloyd Pierce was fired this week. Another possibility would be Detroit, where coach Dwane Casey is overseeing a rebuilding project with a slew of young players for the Pistons. Casey was an assistant coach for Payton’s great Supersonics teams in the 1990s.
Cody Taylor: The NBA G League Ignite have clinched a playoff berth with tonight’s 127-92 win over the Austin Spurs. The group will play at least one more game this season as the playoffs begin on Monday.
Troy Brown: Please help me find my dog, Dex. He’s been missing since yesterday (March 5th). He went missing in the Kalorama neighborhood near 2535 Belmont Rd NW in DC. He’s an extremely friendly dog but he’s probably scared… only weighs about 15 pounds. He has tan and white fur.
March 6, 2021 | 6:25 pm EST Update
Law Murray: Silver says that 25 percent of NBA players come from out of United States, promotes G-League/G-League Ignite as a paid option for some talents while league continues to discuss one-and-done rule