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Report: Mike D’Antoni will not return as Rockets head coach next season

Rockets, Mike D'Antoni, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Rockets

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is informing ownership Sunday that he will not be returning, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

D’Antoni and the Rockets were just eliminated in five games by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals. The 69-year-old’s contract expired with the loss after he turned down extension offers last offseason.

The Rockets hired D’Antoni in 2016, and he won Coach of the Year in his debut campaign. He went 217-101 in his four seasons, including a 65-win campaign in 2017-18. Houston went to the Western Conference Finals that season and held a 3-2 lead over the Golden State Warriors, only to lose Games 6 and 7 without Chris Paul.

The Rockets went to the playoffs in each of D’Antoni’s four seasons. They made the second round all four times, but the disappointing playoff exits were notable. This series against the Lakers was rough, with the Rockets showing little fight after winning Game 1 with their unique small-ball approach.

The 69-year-old will seek other coaching opportunities in the NBA. He will be considered for the open Philadelphia 76ers job, and he could be a candidate for vacancies in Indiana and New Orleans. The Pacers were said to have interest in D’Antoni after firing Nate McMillan.

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