RUMOR: Jeff Van Gundy still an option for Rockets, Mike D’Antoni not a lock to stay
Coach Mike D’Antoni is set to become a free agent after the 2019-20 season. While he could still sign an extension with the Houston Rockets, various reports reveal that D’Antoni’s future is still in the balance.
As such, the Rockets are rumored to be eyeing Jeff Van Gundy as a possible replacement.
There have been issues in contract negotiations between D’Antoni and the Rockets. There were talks held in May 2019, but it did not yield anything significant for both parties. With the possibility of the D’Antoni era ending, Van Gundy — who coached the Rockets from 2003-2007 — is on the team’s shortlist.
Jeff Van Gundy is the one that I had heard consistently as a very possible replacement for Mike. It’s interesting to see Thibs’ name in there now. Because you have a guy who was Jeff’s top assistant when Jeff was the Rockets coach. … Van Gundy and Thibs being from the same tree, whatever happens next, I think you’re starting to get a sense of what might be prioritized. Obviously defense first, discipline.
Jeff Van Gundy, who has been a broadcaster and commentator for ESPN since 2007, had head coaching stints with the New York Knicks and Rockets. He turned the Knicks into a perennial playoff team in the late 90s to the early 2000s, guiding them into the NBA Finals in 1999.
Meanwhile, in four seasons with the Rockets, he only missed the postseason once.
The Rockets have long been playoff contenders, but they but have failed short of being considered title threats. Perhaps a coaching change may turn things around.
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