Though he’s turning 69 on Friday and at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19, Mike D’Antoni would have no problem with returning to the sidelines as coach of the Houston Rockets if this season resumes.
Rockets sources said that D’Antoni has determined that he would coach if the season resumes in large part due to confidence in NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office to create as safe an environment as possible. Sources said D’Antoni, who has been sheltering in place at his Houston home and plans to take precautions such as wearing a mask, has faith that Silver would not allow the league to resume if the safety of players, coaches and staffers would be compromised.
The NBA decided to suspend the 2019-20 season back in March due to ongoing concerns with the coronavirus pandemic. Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert became the first confirmed case in mid-March. His teammate, Donovan Mitchell, tested positive shortly after. Since then, several other players and staffers around the league have contracted the virus.
Prior to this season’s suspension, D’Antoni and the Rockets had racked up a 40-24 overall record, which has them tied for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings. To many, Houston is a legitimate title contender, but can they finally reach the Finals?
At this point, it’s not clear when play might resume. Some teams around the league, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets, have announced that they will be re-opening their practice facilities this week. The Rockets had planned to open Friday, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pushed back the opening of gyms until May 18.