Free agent Mike D’Antoni favors a return to the Rockets; James Harden hopes to have coaches as well


Coach Mike D’Antoni, a free agent who now removed the Houston Rockets from the NBA playoffs, said his priority would be to stay with the organization.

The same is expected of franchise’s face James Harden.

“Of course, of course,” the Rockets said after the season-ending 119-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “Mike did some incredible things here.”

The Rockets have gone 217-101 during D’Antoni’s four seasons in Houston, as well 28-28 in the playoffs, one in the first round each season, and in Game 7 of the West Finals in 2017-18.

The 69-year-old D’Antoni spent the season in the final year of his contract, breaking the previous dynasty in unusual public fashion twice after expansion discussions. Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta and D’Antoni’s longtime agent, Warren Legari, publicly blamed each other for their failure to reach an agreement in detail.

However, D’Antoni expressed admiration for the Rockets organization on Saturday night when he reiterated his intention to continue coaching, whether it was in Houston or elsewhere.

“We are a great organization, great city, great fans, great team,” D’Antoni said. “I mean, everything is good here. We’ll see what happens, but I can’t say for the better. I had four years. Hopefully it will go on, but you never know. But this way Everything is good. Sure

“It was fun. It’s still fun. You always hate losing. It’s always a little bit bittersweet, but I can’t say no to working with better people and better players. A lot of Things stand out, a lot. Little things, but I had a great four years, definitely. ”

D’Antoni is considered a prime candidate in the recently reported ESPN’s Adrian Wojanowski’s Indiana Pacers coaching search. Sources told ESPN that D’Antoni has a keen interest in at least one other team with a coaching vacancy.

DAntoni, who has a career record of 672–527, is widely credited with revolutionizing NBA crime. Their “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Sun teams broke traditional norms by pushing the tempo and shooting more 3-pointers than any team, a point a game style adopted in the league a decade and a half later had gone. The Rockets pushed the extremes even further, setting a record for 3s in each of D’Antoni’s first three years and attempting to eliminate traditional center positions this season.

D’ntoni, whose Phoenix teams flourished with Steve Nash as pick-and-roll maestro, adapted his offensive system to play to Harden’s strengths as a historically elite isolation player in Houston did. Harden, for whom the point guard move was the first major decision he made with the Rockets, won one title title, three scoring titles and an MVP award in their four seasons together.

“The experience has been great – I mainly have the ability to move towards the ball handler and just come up with different plans and fundamentally change the game,” said Harden, whose Game 5 loss included 30 points and five assists. was. “It’s been an incredible experience. Tough season for us. Obviously, it didn’t end, like we wanted it to. We just got to figure it out.”

D’ntoni said he could not give much thought to his possible options yet if he does not return to the Rockets.

“First, I’ll go back to my room. There’s a little mercy party right now,” D’Antoni said. “After that, we’ll figure it out. Right now, it’s still enough where I’m a little more than that and not enough to think about it.”

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