RUMOR: The finalists to replace Mike D’Antoni with Rockets after Daryl Morey steps down
It appears that the head coach search for the Houston Rockets is heating up. Per New York Times’ Marc Stein, John Lucas and Jeff Van Gundy are two particular names that have been in constant rotation for the job.
Jeff Van Gundy remains a co-finalist in Houston and was still talking to the Rockets today after their initial interview Wednesday
But Lucas, league sources say, has at least three key admirers in the organization: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and new Rockets GM Rafael Stone
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 15, 2020
Apparently, both Lucas and Van Gundy have gained steam primarily after the recent departure of general manager Daryl Morey on Thursday. The Rockets have found themselves in the midst of instantly deciding which route will better them after a disappointing postseason.
If Lucas is the deciding candidate, expect star guard Russell Westbrook to possibly stay put as the Rockets look to revamp their lineups. After being brought over in the 2019 offseason for Chris Paul, the former UCLA product didn’t necessarily prove to be James Harden’s best backcourt option. Moreso, the Rockets experimented with a small-ball lineup, a feat that proved to be useless against Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers.
With Van Gundy, he’ll return to his old roots in coming back to Houston, a club he once coached from 2003-2007. In times since, he’s been commentating NBA action, his most recent appearance being in the NBA Finals. Van Gundy’s time with the Rockets was previously highlighted by the dynamic duo of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, a team that he wasn’t able to see the best of accomplishments with despite a monumental 50-win record in his second season.
Either option will come onto a team with stars in “win-now” mode with both Harden and Westbrook. Finding a way to successfully mesh the two backcourt talents may prove to be a challenge as it was for former head coach Mike D’Antoni.