Mike D’Antoni informs Rockets he won’t return as head coach

The Houston Rockets came up short of advancing to the Western Conference Finals after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Now, the focus will shift to finding a new head coach to replace Mike D’Antoni.

There was a lot of talk about whether D’Antoni would be brought back by the Rockets after his current contract expired. Houston didn’t seem to get to be the one to make the decision about his future as it was made for them.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, D’Antoni is informing the Rockets ownership today that he will not return to the team.

The relationship between D’Antoni and the Rockets since Tillman Fertitta took over as the owner never seemed to find a good place. After another shortcoming in the post-season, it comes with little surprise a change occurred.

There is no shortage of NBA teams in need of hiring a new head coach. D’Antoni has been linked to the Indiana Pacers numerous times and was even labeled a ‘leading candidate’ in their search for a new head coach. The Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans have been mentioned, too.

For the Rockets, it will be difficult to find a replacement that is on par with the impact that Mike D’Antoni provides. He has been key in James Harden emerging as a superstar and that’s why the former MVP expressed he wanted D’Antoni to be brought back.

It’s early in the process but the Rockets have been linked to Jeff Van Gundy as a potential option. He has been in the broadcast booth for years as he last coached in the NBA in 2007 when he was in Houston. There should be plenty of other candidates to enter the mix, too.

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About Grant Afseth 1232 Articles
Grant Afseth is an NBA reporter for NBA Analysis Network and Dallas Mavericks reporter for DallasBasketball.com. He previously covered the Indiana Pacers and NBA for CNHI's Kokomo Tribune and various NBA teams for USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Follow him on Twitter (@grantafseth), Facebook (@grantgafseth), and YouTube (@grantafseth).