Those Rockets teams were routinely dismissed as champions of circumstance, branded as beneficiaries of Jordan’s 18-month hiatus from the N.B.A. to try to transform himself into a Chicago White Sox outfielder. We’ve since learned, through “The Last Dance” documentary series, that Jordan’s iconic Chicago Bulls were not a lock to handle Houston without a big man anywhere near Olajuwon’s level. “I heard it from the horse’s mouth — and that’s Michael,” Tomjanovich said.
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“How do we handle James Harden not going to practice?” LeVert deadpanned. “For us, for myself, I don’t really have anything to do with James Harden not going to practice. That doesn’t concern me. “I’m focused on the team, the Nets, myself, trying to be the best I can be so that we can be better as a team. I don’t really focus on all of that stuff. That really has nothing to do with me.”
To commemorate it, the franchise announced an offseason press conference turned pep rally at the arena. Blue carpet was laid down, ushering his path to the stage. Fans were invited. It turned into a party. “Traitor Slater!” said a lady, probably in her 50s, presumably taking her queue from an Enes Kanter troll tweet days earlier. She wasn’t alone. I was bombarded with a ton of “How could you?!” comments. Ray Westbrook, Russell’s brother, asked me why I “changed sides.” Russell just shook his head when he saw me. There was no use in explaining journalistic ideals, demanding they understand the neutral nature of my profession or the beneficial reasons of moving to the Bay Area, where I’m from. I was just the only Warriors symbol that happened to be there that day and that meant I was so very boo-able.
Derek Bodner: In the wake of controversy surrounding Daryl Morey’s comments the Sixers have mostly been focused on expressing the positive experiences they’ve had in China and the power of basketball as a unifying agent, avoiding any discussion about social or political considerations at play.
Corey Brewer was on ESPN Face to Face with Hannah Storm on Thursday, and he spoke about the Rockets hiring of Mike D’Antoni. “He’s going to bring a lot of energy,” said Brewer of Houston’s new coach. “That’s what we need. We need some energy back here in Houston. It was a bad year this year. Expectations were high and we ended up playing really bad but I think Coach D’Antoni is going to come in and change all that.”
However, the Rockets small forward was quick to comment on where the Rockets really need to improve. “But we’ve got to play some defense,” added Brewer. “So hopefully we get a good assistant to help Coach D’Antoni and we’ll be OK.”
The selection of Mike D’Antoni as Rockets coach will not have to win the approval of guard James Harden. Harden, who had been kept abreast throughout the coaching search, endorsed the pick in an appearance as the first guest of teammate Jason Terry’s radio show. “I’m excited,” Harden said on Sirius XM on Wednesday. “I’m excited about the opportunity. I’ve been hearing great things about him, what he brings to our team. Obviously, our assistant coaches (Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers) as well. A new beginning and I’m excited about the opportunity.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Mike D’Antoni is finalizing a four-year deal with the Rockets that will include a team option in final year, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Two strong candidates for Mike D’Antoni’s staff include Memphis assistant Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers, who was with Washington.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston is finalizing a deal to hire Mike D’Antoni as head coach, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Jonathan Feigen: Rockets have chosen Mike D’Antoni as coach, source said.
Marc Stein: Sources say Spurs assistant James Borrego — co-finalist for Memphis’ job with Fizdale — interviewed today with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander.
Marc Stein: NBA coaching sources say James Borrego, after Monday’s interview in Houston, has progressed to a meeting this week with owner Les Alexander
Mark Berman: Adrian Griffin n Houston 4interview w/ #Rockets:”It means a lot.I’ve been under some great coaches.U feel confident when u’ve done the work”
Mark Berman: NBA sources: #Rockets bringing in Adrian Griffin for an interview. Griffin was a finalist for the Orlando job. Played with the Rockets 2003-4
Mark Berman: Sources: #Rockets will interview Adrian Griffin.He was a finalist for the Orlando job. Griffin was ass’t with Bulls 2010-15, w/ Bucks 2008-10
Jonathan Feigen: Rockets next round of interviews will include Adrian Griffin and James Borrego on Monday in Houston, sources confirmed.
Marc Stein: NBA coaching sources say James Borrego, finalist for Memphis’ job, is likely to be summoned by the Rockets for an interview early next week.
Marc Stein: Sources say Houston has indeed scheduled an interview with Grizzlies finalist James Borrego … 11th known candidate for the Rockets’ job.
Mark Berman: #Rockets appear to be focusing on Mike D’Antoni and Stephen Silas as they search for a new head coach. While Mike D’Antoni remains a strong possibility to become the Rockets next head coach sources confirm Stephen Silas is getting serious consideration, and if that’s the case Lionel! Hollins would be his top assistant.
Jonathan Feigen: In addition to Mike D’Antoni, Rockets seriously weighing Stephen Silas as coach with Lionel Hollins as his top assistant, source said. As mentioned yesterday, Silas is extremely impressive and highly regarded by players. Hollins’ creds obviously speak for themselves. Rockets have thought highly of Hollins for years. Hoped to add him to McHale’s staff post-Sampson, but Hollins landed Nets job. Worth noting Alexander likes to hire very bright people. Silas a Brown grad; double major in Organizational Behavior/ Management, Sociology.
Jonathan Feigen: In addition to Mike D’Antoni, Rockets seriously weighing Stephen Silas as coach with Lionel Hollins as his top assistant, source said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As @Jonathan Feigen says, Stephen Silas-Lionel Hollins/Houston partnership being measured against a D’Antoni staff. Silas crushed interviews
Marc J. Spears: Grizzlies assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik interviewed with Grizzlies about their coach opening yesterday before talking to the Rockets today.
Marc Stein: NBA coaching sources say all signs continue to point to the Rockets hiring leading candidate Mike D’Antoni as their coach in the near future.
Marc Stein: ESPN sources say that the Houston Rockets today interviewed Toronto Raptors assistant coach Rex Kalamian for their head coaching vacancy.
Jonathan Feigen: Can now confirm @Marc Stein report that the Rockets have interviewed Rex Kalamian, longtime OKC assistant now with Toronto.
Marc Stein: Like Houston’s interest in Charlotte’s Stephen Silas, today’s visit with Rex Kalamian was head coach-specific but also with an eye to the future.
Jonathan Feigen: Interview w/ Silas is about head coaching job, source said. But Rockets have found a top asst (Sampson) in a head coaching interview before.
While this is considered an interview for the head-coaching job, Silas isn’t the top assistant in Charlotte, and the Rockets could make a play to hire Silas to join D’Antoni as his top assistant, sources said.
Ken Berger: If Houston and D’Antoni reach a deal, assumption in league circles is Dwight Howard’s days in Houston are over. Did not get along in LA.
Ken Berger: Nothing official yet, but “looking good” for a Rockets-Mike D’Antoni partnership, league source says.
Marc Stein: It should be noted that David Blatt remains up for the head coaching job in Houston, where Mike D’Antoni is regarded as a leading candidate.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As Rockets move toward formal offer to Mike D’Antoni, organization working to shape strong staff around him, sources tell @The Vertical.
Mike D’Antoni, the architect of the Phoenix Suns’ celebrated high-paced and high-scoring offense a decade ago, has emerged as a favorite for the Rockets’ coaching position, two individuals with know-ledge of the team’s thinking said on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the process.
Another individual with knowledge of the team’s thinking said there are two other coaches who can be also be considered top contenders for the position.
Mike D’Antoni’s candidacy for the Houston Rockets’ coaching job is gaining momentum, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that D’Antoni has emerged as a leading candidate for the post, having impressed Rockets owner Leslie Alexander in multiple conversations since the search began. Alexander vowed to ESPN last month during the playoffs that he would take a more active role in this coaching search than he has in the past.
Adam Wexler: Can confirm Jeff Van Gundy is no longer a candidate for #Rockets head coaching position. “I never talked to them. Thought I would, but didn’t happen,” Van Gundy said via text. “Contrary to others opinions, it’s a good job and Harden is great. The choices they are pursuing are all really good choices.” @KPRC2
Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Mike D’Antoni has emerged as a frontrunner in the process, and the Rockets have been gauging possible top assistant coaches for D’Antoni’s potential coaching staff, league sources said.
There had been significant support within the Rockets’ front office for a reunion with Van Gundy, but it became apparent that owner Leslie Alexander was uncertain about restoring the partnership, league sources said.
Veteran NBA coach Mike D’Antoni has landed a second interview with Houston and is an increasingly serious candidate for the Rockets’ coaching vacancy, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that D’Antoni, who is currently serving as associate head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, was summoned for a second sit-down with the club — this time face-to-face with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander — after impressing in his first interview.
Sources say Jeff Van Gundy has received strong support from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to make a return to Houston for a second stint as the team’s coach, but they maintain that Alexander has yet to be fully sold on a reunion with the ESPN analyst, who has been working in television since the sides parted ways in May 2007.
Marc J. Spears: Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina interviewed for the Rockets’ head coach opening last Saturday, a source said.
Veteran NBA coach Mike D’Antoni has landed a second interview with Houston and is an increasingly serious candidate for the Rockets’ coaching vacancy, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that D’Antoni, currently serving as associate head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, was summoned for a second sit-down with the club — this time face-to-face with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander — after impressing in his first interview. The Rockets, sources say, would seek to hire a coach with strong defensive credentials, to essentially serve as D’Antoni’s defensive coordinator, if talks progress to a serious stage and D’Antoni eventually emerges as Houston’s choice to replace Kevin McHale and interim successor J.B. Bickerstaff.
Sources say Jeff Van Gundy has received strong support from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to make a return to Houston for a second stint as the team’s coach, but also maintain that Alexander has yet to be fully sold on a reunion with the ESPN analyst, who has been working in television since the sides parted ways in May 2007.
The former Rockets point guard discussed his interview with Houston during TNT’s pregame show Monday prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. “Some of the information is sensitive … but we met,” Smith said. “Then after we met, I had great talks with (team owner) Les Alexander afterwards for a couple of days. We corresponded. “The Rockets have a philosophy of what they think their coach should be. Right now, I’m here and it looks like I’m going to be here. And that’s great.”
Mark Berman: Kenny Smith is no longer involved in the Rockets coaching search, but really appreciates getting the chance to talk with owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey about the job: “The process has been great. It’s been a great opportunity. I had several calls with Les Alexander. I met with him once and we talked on several occasions. It was a great process, and I wish the Rockets the best. Right now it just looks like the fit doesn’t work.”
Mark Berman: Kenny Smith said it meant a lot that the Rockets reached out to him about their vacant head coaching position: “It was great. I know that I’m more than capable of managing a team, more than capable of coaching a team. I audition every night without trying to by being on television. It was great that (Rockets owner Leslie Alexander) recognized that this year. When you get a chance to talk with people at that length you get to know even more about them that I didn’t even know as a player. It was a great opportunity.”
Mark Berman: Kenny Smith is no longer involved in the Rockets search for their next head coach. He called it a great opportunity to interview for the job: “I will be a head coach in the NBA some day. Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”
Former Rockets guard Kenny Smith will no longer be a candidate to be Rockets head coach, a person with knowledge of the decision said Monday on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the process. Smith was described as very impressive and likely to become an NBA head coach if he pursues it, the individual familiar with the decision-making said, but the Rockets will shift their focus to experienced head coaches and extremely experienced assistants.
Calvin Watkins: Rockets don’t have any finalists yet but source said the team was impressed with Kenny Smith during the interview process and believe he’ll become a head coach one day. Team wants a head coach with experience.
Jonathan Feigen: Second interviews could come by end of the week, source said. Frank Vogel and Ettore Messina “part of process.” Can’t say if have interviewed.
David Medrano: Got a gut feeling it’s Jeff Van Gundy or bust. Any idea if his job as an analyst is the hold up? Messina willing to come on as OC? – Jonathan Feigen: They have not met with Jeff Van Gundy, but they are interested, source said. Hold-up is just to get to know others first.
#BringKennyBack was trending for a while in Houston Friday morning/afternoon. When you clicked the hashtag you saw that it was filled with love for former Rockets point guard Kenny “The Jet” Smith. Then there was word of a rally at Toyota Center So, I’m not doing anything Friday afternoon. Why not check out and see why on earth people would have a Kenny Smith rally? Don’t these people understand the Jet has as likely a chance at becoming head coach as one of them? Going into it thinking this would be some kind of joke or farce, color me surprised: there was actually a pretty decent turnout.
Gery Woelfel: Source says Jeff Van Gundy remains a finalist and, may indeed be the frontrunner, for Rockets coaching position.
Former Rockets guard Kenny Smith, who is an NBA analyst with TNT and a candidate to become the next head coach of the Rockets, said he had “a great meeting” with team officials on Tuesday. Smith told FOX 26 Sports he met with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey for 2 1/2 to three hours at Alexander’s home in South Florida.
Mark Berman: Kenny Smith, candidate to be next head coach of Rockets said he had “great meeting” w/Leslie Alexander & Daryl Morey. tinyurl.com/gqymu8s
Jeff Hornacek and Kenny Smith interviewed for the Houston Rockets job today according to a source. More interviews are being planned with other candidates.
Calvin Watkins: The Houston Rockets, who are in the middle of a coaching search, have yet to present any of the candidates to star guard James Harden according to a source. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said they would talk to Harden during the coaching search and free agency process.
Calvin Watkins: It appears in the early stages the organization has yet to talk to Harden. But there’s a feeling they will at some point before a final decision is made. The Rockets have spoken to at least seven candidates about the coaching job.
Mark Berman: NBA sources confirm the #Rockets are interviewing former Cavaliers Coach David Blatt today. First reported by @Marc Stein
Calvin Watkins: Rockets will interview Kenny Smith tomorrow according to a source.
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June 23, 2021 | 8:34 pm EDT Update
June 23, 2021 | 7:44 pm EDT Update
Spoelstra has accepted an invitation to join the USA Basketball coaching staff for its Olympic preparations in Las Vegas next month. The Miami Heat coach, who went head-to-head against Popovich and San Antonio in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals, will be involved coaching the U.S. select team — a group of players that will be brought in to practice and scrimmage against the Olympic roster.
“I really just want to be a part of the program,” Spoelstra said. “I’m always pushing myself to get better in the offseasons; I go visit people and all that stuff. This is going to be a basketball immersion. I mean, the dinners, the team meetings … for where I am right now in my career, I think this is the perfect thing for a summer of development.”