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Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta says Mike D’Antoni will be the coach next season

Rockets

Houston Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta said head coach Mike D’Antoni would return to coach the team next season, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Despite being eliminated from the playoffs for the second straight time by the Golden State Warriors, and the fourth time in the last five years, Fertitta will stick with his coach, who will enter his fourth season as the man at the helm in Clutch City.

“Mike will be the coach next year,” Fertitta said. “He’s not a lame duck to me. That’s just a media term. That’s just a media buzzword.”

The Rockets’ James-Harden-centric offense has proven fruitless against the Warriors thus far, but it could be a different story if their roster looks any different next season, potentially opening the door for Houston down the road.

Many teams have been anticipating Kevin Durant’s departure and the effect the luxury tax will have on this championship-laden team, considering that some of their key role players are aging and likely to retire in the next few years.

Shaun Livingston has been rumored to be in his last quest for a ring, and Andre Iguodala is not too far from taking the same decision — as both championship cogs approach their mid-30s.

Fertitta claimed his emphasis will be on tweaking the roster, rather than making a coaching change.

“Mike is going to be 69 years old (next May) and Mike doesn’t know totally what he wants to do, yet,” said Feritta. “We’ll sit down with Mike in the next few weeks and talk with him. We’re more concerned with making our team better next year. Mike will be here. I like Mike. I think he’s a very good coach. Players like playing for him. I keep being told, free agents want to know who the owner is and they want to know who the coach is. Mike and I do well together. Hopefully, we’ll continue to win and Mike will be here for a long time.”

The Rockets recently extended GM Daryl Morey during the regular season, so it looks like Houston will carry that same exoskeleton into the 2019-20 season, regardless of the offseason changes.