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Mike D’Antoni, Rockets still working on contract extension

Mike D'Antoni, Rockets

The Houston Rockets publicly short-changed head coach Mike D’Antoni in contract negotiations with a one-year, $2.5 million base offer with other incentives and stipulations. Owner Tilman Fertitta and general manager Daryl Morey flew to D’Antoni’s native West Virginia to negotiate again, leaving the state believing they had a deal in place:

“I feel very good about it, and I’ve always felt good,” Fertitta told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon the following week. “I’m disappointed that it got talked about in the press, and I’m disappointed I responded in the press.”

Fertitta offered $2 million in incentives tied to playoff advancement in 2019-20 as an olive branch if an extension was reached. He also agreed to remove specific buyout language that was considered problematic.

However, D’Antoni’s agent, Warren LeGarie, says no deal is in place:

“I have not heard from them since that trip to visit Mike,” LeGarie says. “Mike is prepared to coach out his contract.”

LeGarie insists that a second year and a higher base salary are a must to sign an extension with the Rockets. He was annoyed that his longtime client was considered to be in agreement without the Rockets first consulting with him, and D’Antoni says thinks are still being worked out:

“We’re still working out the details,” D’Antoni said. “I’m looking forward to next year and looking forward to making a run at a title.”

D’Antoni is apparently willing to coach as a lame duck despite this messiness, and Morey insists the franchise wants him around for the long haul:

“We’re excited to have Mike back,” said Morey. “He’s been a fantastic coach. We’re comfortable he’s going to be our coach next year and many years into the future.”

This public contractual back-and-forth has exposed what could be considered an arrogant organization ungrateful for their coach, and we’ll see if any new extension is actually agreed upon this offseason.