NBA Rumor: Rockets Coaching Search

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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.”

James Harden not fond of Jeff Van Gundy?

Jeff Van Gundy was one of three finalists for the Houston Rockets’ head coaching job after long being considered the favorite. But the Rockets ultimately decided to hire Stephen Silas for the job and the reason could have pivoted on Houston’s stars not supporting Van Gundy’s candidacy to the degree that would have made all parties comfortable. “Van Gundy, I don’t know if there was a lot of buy in or any buy in from James Harden or Russell Westbrook,” said Tim MacMahon on the Brian Windhorst podcast. “And I don’t know if Jeff Van Gundy necessarily wanted to, you know, have to beg to coach guys. And so I think personality wise, that might not have been a match.”

Jeff Van Gundy was the early frontrunner to become the next Rockets coach. Brian Windhorst of ESPN: I think circumstances have changed. Many people think John Lucas, the longtime assistant there who hasn’t been a head coach in the league in 18 years, has a chance here. And part of that is his relationship with the players and his relationship with Rafael Stone, who was just named general manager. So, while there are other candidates, including Stephen Silas, I would say today that my guess is it’s going to be John Lucas.


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.

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.

Wes Unseld Jr. interviews for Rockets and Clippers coaching jobs

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.

Clippers to interview Wes Unseld Jr for head coaching job

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.

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.

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.

Ty Lue a 'serious candidate' for Rockets head coaching job

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.
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January 23, 2021 | 8:06 pm EST Update

Timberwolves keeping Ryan Saunders for now

Ryan Saunders will remain coach of the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves, at least until he gets an opportunity to coach a stretch with star Karl-Anthony Towns in the regular lineup. “I haven’t even talked to (basketball president Gersson Rosas) about that — he hasn’t brought it up, but you’re asking me, and it’s probably hard to tell a guy that you aren’t doing the job when your best guy isn’t playing,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor said Saturday from his home in Mankato.
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For most of a year, Taylor has explored a sale of the Wolves and Lynx. How’s that coming? “Well, it’s not coming is the best way to say it,” Taylor said. “I haven’t found anything that for sure says I should move ahead.” Taylor’s price tag for the Wolves and Lynx is estimated to be in the $1.5 billion range. With NBA expansion — Las Vegas and Seattle have been mentioned — current team owners could each be in for a reported $160 million expansion fee windfall. “Obviously I’m aware of that — you’ve got to pick your time,” Taylor said, adding that no definite decision for expansion has been made. “The other question: Is now a good time to sell when you don’t have fans? And it’s not a good time.”