Report: Mike D’Antoni Will Be the Houston Rockets’ Next Head Coach

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Mike D'Antoni will be James Harden's third coach in a year.

The Houston Rockets reportedly have agreed in principal to sign the former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks head coach to a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth year. He's also been the head coach of the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers, and has a career coaching record of 455-426.

The 65-year-old was most recently an associate head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers.

In Phoenix, D'Antoni's famed "Seven Seconds or Less" offense made the Suns one of the 2000s' most exciting teams to watch and helped Steve Nash win back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006.

With more of a shoot-first, pass-when-there's-really-no-other-option-at-all ball-handler in Harden, it will be interesting to see how D'Antoni's vision translates for the Rockets.

The move all but signals the end for the Dwight Howard era in Houston. The center was already likely to opt out of the final year of his contract, but the hiring of D'Antoni, who famously didn't mesh well with Howard in Los Angeles, all but seals the big man's free agency.

The knock on D'Antoni going back to his Phoenix days is defense. In addition to his not seeming to care very much about what happens on that end of the floor, his up-tempo offense typically makes it harder for players to find the consistent energy to defend.

To remedy that weakness, the Rockets are also hiring a pair of "defensive coordinators"—Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik and Washington Wizardsassistant Roy Rogers.

The Rockets fired Kevin McHale after the team started 4-7. J.B. Bickerstaff served as interim coach for the rest of the season and pulled out of the running for the head coaching position.

 

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