Mike D’Antoni Won’t Return as Houston Rockets’ Coach

Mike D'Antoni during his time as Head Coach of New York Knicks. Image via Matt Hickey/ Wikipedia

Houston Rockets will be joining an already large group of NBA teams that are looking for a new head coach after Mike D’Antoni told the organization that he won’t return for the 2020/21 NBA season.

D’Antoni is out of contract, having failed to agree to an extension with the Rockets last summer. He intends to continue coaching and is expected to be a sought-after candidate for other openings, including Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers.

“It’s with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we’ll be moving to a new chapter,” said D’Antoni in a statement issued on Sunday.

D’Antoni leaves Rockets after four seasons, in which he posted a 217-102 record and led the team to a .682 winning percentage, which is second only to Toronto Raptors in the whole league during that period. Houston made playoffs in each of those seasons, including one Western Conference Finals and three semi-finals appearances.

“Mike is a true professional and an amazing basketball mind,” said Rockets’ owner Tilman Fertitta. “He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have had such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons.”

For their new head coach, Rockets are reportedly looking for an experienced name. The current favorite is Jeff Van Gundy, who already coached the team between 2003 and 2007, while LA Clippers’ assistants Sam Cassell and Tyronn Lue are also mentioned in the conversation.