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Mike D’Antoni says he’ll have no problem coaching Rockets without a new contract

Mike D'Antoni

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has no problem coaching the team without a new contract in place.

This was what D’Antoni told Fox 26 sports director Mark Berman on May 30.

D’Antoni ended talks about a contract extension with the Rockets on Thursday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

D’Antonio plans to complete the final season of his deal in 2019-20, which could become a pathway to his own free agency the next year.

D’Antoni’s agent, Warren LeGarie, informed Rockets general manager Daryl Morey of the coach’s decision on Thursday afternoon, sources said.

There had been conversations constructed around the Rockets idea of a performance-based extension, but those never gained traction with D’Antoni’s camp, sources said.

Prior to the development, Mike D’Antoni told ESPN he wanted to coach Houston for at least three more years. “I want to be part of a championship here,” he said.

According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets dangled a one-year extension which was “heavily based on incentives” to D’Antoni. The 2019-20 NBA season is the last year of D’Antoni’s four-year contract with Houston.

Feigen said, “Talks broke down over having that one season based on performance-based incentives tied to next season.” He also said the Rockets put hiring D’Antoni’s new assistant coaches on hold until they smooth out his new contract. They didn’t renew the contracts of several assistants (including associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik’s).

The 68-year-old D’Antoni has averaged 58 victories in his three seasons with the Rockets. He has gone 173-73 during that span. Feigen says that was “the best three-year stretch in franchise history.”

D’Antoni led the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals last season. The Golden State Warriors have beaten the Rockets in two consecutive playoff series. This year, the Warriors beat the Rockets in six games in the second round of the playoffs.

Will the 2019-20 NBA season be D’Antoni’s last in Houston? It should be interesting to find out.

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