The Houston Rockets made their first big move of the offseason by introducing Mike D’Antoni as their new head coach. D’Antoni signed a three-year, $15 million contract with a 4th year team option, according to ESPN’s Calbin Watkins.
D’Antoni’s style makes sense and brings promise to a Houston team that attempted the second most 3-pointers in the NBA during the 2015-16 season. The Rockets weren’t very efficient with their attempts, finishing 19th in 3-point field goal percentage.
D’Antoni brings a 455-426 career head coaching record into Houston, with his last winning season back in the 2012-2013 season with the Los Angeles Lakers (they were swept in the first round of the playoffs). Rockets owner Leslie Alexander hopes his personnel and style will be able to replicate the success of 2004-2007 Phoenix Suns, where D’Antoni had his best coaching seasons and received coach of the year in 2005.
This is an interesting signing for Alexander, coming off a season where he fired Kevin McHale 11 games into the 2016 season in the second of a three-year guaranteed contract. This signing also seems to be the final indication that the team plans to move on from all-star center, Dwight Howard. Howard struggled and had one of his worst seasons in 2013 under D’Antoni in Los Angeles.
Alexander viewed as D’Antoni as the perfect fit for the Rockets and expects the team to flourish in his quick pace. He hopes D’Antoni can implement some team defense, too.
D’Antoni signing with the Rockets will reunite him with James Harden for the first time since 2012 during their time with the USA Basketball Olympic team. The D’Antoni signing indicates the team is not ready to head to rebuilding mode and will go all in with Harden in his prime.
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