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Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni given clearance to coach in Orlando

Mike D'Antoni, Rockets

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni will be in Orlando, Florida coaching his team at the “bubble” games.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, D’Antoni, 69, has received clearance to coach the Rockets in the Orlando restart.

Older coaches such as D’Antoni are at further risk of contracting COVID-19. There are still a number of cases in Florida at the moment.

NBCA executive director Dave Fogel and president Rick Carlisle have concerns that several assistants and three head coaches — Houston’s Mike D’Antoni (69 years old), New Orleans’ Alvin Gentry (65) and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich (71) — could be restricted from leading their teams and some could face considerable challenges in resuming their careers.

D’Antoni recently shared the same medical information that league doctors would evaluate with an independent doctor in Houston and was given clearance to coach the Rockets in the Orlando restart, sources said.

The Rockets have already clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Houston, led by former MVPs Russell Westbrook and James Harden, racked up 40 wins before the season was suspended in March.

D’Antoni is in the final year of his contract with the Rockets. The former Coach of the Year has the third-most wins in Rockets franchise history. He’s won 213 games and lost just 97 since becoming the head coach of Houston in the summer of 2017.

With Westbrook next to Harden, the pressure is on D’Antoni to bring the Rockets a title at the “bubble” games. It will be fascinating to see if Harden, Westbrook and D’Antoni can lead Houston to the promised land.