The Houston Rockets today named Stephen Silas the 14th head coach in franchise history. Silas spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach on Rick Carlisle’s staff in Dallas, helping guide the Mavericks to the highest offensive rating in NBA history in 2019-20.
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“This is an opportunity that was well-earned and long overdue for Coach Silas and we’re thrilled to have him as head coach,” said Rockets owner Tilman J. Fertitta. “Stephen is a basketball lifer who is highly regarded around the league. Our basketball operations leaders Rafael Stone and Eli Witus, along with Tad Brown and Patrick Fertitta, conducted an extensive search of many worthy candidates, but in the end we knew Stephen was the right person for the job. I know Stephen cannot wait to get to work and I hope Rockets fans are as excited as I am for the upcoming season.”
“I’d like to thank Mr. Fertitta and Rafael for this tremendous opportunity as well as all of the mentors I’ve had over the years, especially my dad, Paul,” said Silas. “Basketball has been a huge part of my life since the day I was born and this is the moment I’ve strived for. I’ve been fortunate to have coached some great players over the course of my career and am excited to work with this incredibly talented team as we build upon the success they have established.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach of the Houston Rockets, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Rockets were sold on Silas’ offensive ingenuity, his pedigree w/ Rick Carlisle, Steve Clifford and his father, Paul Silas. Silas has coached some remarkable guards in his NBA career, including Luka Doncic, Kemba Walker, Steph Curry. Now he gets to run offense for Harden-Westbrook
The Rockets had already begun work on putting together a staff expected to include at least two former head coaches. Talks had already begun with Jeff Hornacek and Nate McMillan. John Lucas, the Rockets director of player personnel who was a candidate for the head coaching position, is expected to receive an offer to remain the team in some capacity and also could be made a part of Silas’ staff.
Alykhan Bijani: #Rockets head coach search according to @Adrian Wojnarowski: “Jeff Van Gundy has remained the focus of this and they’re trying to figure out if they can get to a place where it makes sense for both sides.” “Stephen Silas…is another prominent candidate still in this search.”
Jonathan Feigen: James (Harden) thinks the world of John Lucas, which, you know, who doesn’t? And obviously, working very closely with him for four years, he feels that way. And I know Russ feels that way. The whole team does. It’s john Lucas. He’s one of the icons of the league and a tremendous contributor for his work that he’s done with both just developing players.
Mark Berman: ICYMI NBA sources: For the moment @Houston Rockets 3 finalists to be their next head coach: @DallasMavs ass’t Stephen Silas, Jeff Van Gundy & Rockets dir/player development John Lucas.Sources said next step for team officials is to consult with their players about their candidates
Yet according to two of the Rockets coaching candidates, it wasn’t quite that clear that Morey was on his way out. There were signs of something being amiss, the candidates said, among them the fact that Morey wasn’t leading the process. But they said there was no direct message that Morey was about to step down.
Prior to the coaching search, Fertitta had said that Morey would have a large influence in picking the next Rockets head coach, but The Athletic has learned that Morey’s role in the coaching search had diminished over the past few weeks and he had been operating essentially as a consultant. The Rockets have interviewed Jeff Van Gundy, Ty Lue, Kenny Atkinson, Stephen Silas, David Vanterpool, Wes Unseld Jr., and John Lucas so far.
Mark Berman: #Rockets Owner @TilmanJFertitta says new general manager Rafael Stone will make the call on who Tillman hires as their next head coach: “Daryl (Morey, who’s acting in an advisory capacity) will give his input. (Rockets CEO) Tad (Brown)will give his input. All of basketball ops..” pic.twitter.com/z0djLviiA9
Tim MacMahon: Mavs assistant Stephen Silas will have a second interview with the Rockets in Houston on Friday, sources tell @Brian Windhorst and me.
Tim MacMahon: Tilman Fertitta: “I’m going to miss Daryl. But I’m also going to pick up the phone and call his ass if I’m worried about doing something or not. If he ends up back in the league, I think that he’ll probably end up in the East Coast.”
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.
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”
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.
Speaking on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Tuesday, Fertitta solidified Morey’s employment with the NBA franchise and said he’s in charge of finding the Rockets’ new head coach. “Daryl Morey’s job is safe, and I’m sure he’s going to pick the right head coach,” Fertitta said of Morey’s job to find a replacement for Mike D’Antoni, who announced he would not return to the Rockets.
Mark Berman: From @Tilman Fertitta and the #Rockets:
Tim MacMahon: Sources: There is mutual interest between the Rockets and Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell. Cassell started his playing career with the two-time champion “Clutch City” Rockets.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Mike and Laurel D’Antoni statement to ESPN on departure from Rockets
Chris Mannix: Mavericks assistant coach Stephen Silas was a strong candidate for the Rockets job before D’Antoni was hired in 2016. Silas is highly regarded in league circles—could emerge as a candidate again.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Houston coach Mike D’Antoni is informing the franchise’s ownership today that he’s becoming a free agent and won’t return to the Rockets next season.
A couple of proven coaches with Rockets roots have been mentioned often inside the league as potential replacements for D’Antoni: ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, the Rockets’ coach from 2003 to 2007 who maintains a home in Houston; and former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, the Rockets’ director of player development during the first season of Morey’s tenure. Another name to watch: New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch. His résumé as a head coach includes championships won in the British Basketball League and with the Rockets’ G League affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
If D’Antoni does leave Houston, as so many expect, Lue would likely get a serious look from the Rockets, too (with the Jeff Van Gundy candidacy, sources say, likely leading the way).
Sam Amick: But again, who the hell knows on the back end, but Jeff Van Gundy’s name is the one that I heard consistently as a very possible replacement for Mike and, and it’s interesting to see Thibs’ name in there now because you got a guy who was Jeff’s top assistant when Jeff was the Rockets coach and a guy who, you know, in terms of like the optics around Tom, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster the past couple of years, you know, he was labeled, essentially, like, kind of a dinosaur who was too tough on his players and did not assimilate with today’s NBA.
Sam Amick: So, you know, Van Gundy and Thibs being from the same tree, whatever happens next, I think you are starting to get a sense of what might be prioritized, obviously defense first, discipline… Now, you know, it’s trying to juxtapose that reconcile that with James Harden in particular, you know, with Thibs or Van Gundy is barking at him on the on the defensive side. I mean, there’s a lot we could get into there. But right now, that’s probably how I see it.
Sam Amick: As I reported a couple months ago, barring a championship, if they do save the season, I do not get the sense that Mike D’Antoni is going to be back. You’ve had a major divide in the contract negotiations.
The Post reported in February that Thibodeau would be on Leon Rose’s short list and looked to be a favorite if the new team president chose not to bring back Mike Miller as head coach. While his reputation took a hit with the failure in bringing Jimmy Butler to Minnesota and allegedly mishandling young talent, sources told The Post the Nets and Houston will have strong interest, too. Houston’s Mike D’Antoni will be a free agent.
Thibodeau is confident he’ll get a job next season and has even been asking around the league for advice on picking the best opportunity, according to sources. The Knicks, Nets and Rockets are expected to have the three highest-profile coaching gigs available. Keep an eye on the Pelicans, Bulls and Hawks. Then there’s the big question of whether Gregg Popovich is returning for another season in San Antonio. Our advice for Thibodeau, if he lands a job, would be to hire a couple assistants who can connect and serve as a bridge with younger players.
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December 5, 2020 | 12:34 pm EST Update
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December 5, 2020 | 11:29 am EST Update
Spencer Percy: According to the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, a player that tests positive (and is asymptomatic) must quarantine for 10 day + produce 2 negative tests 24 hrs. apart. This means Malik Monk can’t rejoin the #Hornets until 12-16 at the earliest (unless positive was early this week).
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