Did Houston Rockets superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook not want to play for Jeff Van Gundy?

While nothing is certain, Tim MacMahon of ESPN says Harden and Westbrook didn't really buy in to Van Gundy replacing Mike D'Antoni as the Rockets' head coach.

Via Real GM:

“Van Gundy, I don't know if there was a lot of buy in or any buy in from James Harden or Russell Westbrook,” MacMahon on the Brian Windhorst podcast.

“And I don't know if Jeff Van Gundy necessarily wanted to, you know, have to beg to coach guys. And so I think personality wise, that might not have been a match.”

The Rockets wound up hiring Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas to replace D'Antoni. He's the son of longtime NBA coach Paul Silas.

During the 2020 playoffs at Walt Disney World, the Rockets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round in seven games. However, Houston fell to LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals in five games despite taking Game 1.

The Lakers wound up winning the 2020 title over the Miami Heat in six games.

Harden and Westbrook are under immense pressure to win the championship next season. If they don't, the Rockets could split up the two MVPs since both guys are making a ton of money. Houston has yet to get to the NBA Finals since acquiring Harden from the Thunder.

Van Gundy, who coached the Rockets before, will remain at ESPN and ABC unless he joins a team as an assistant coach.