The Rockets, like the Trail Blazers, exited the postseason after a five-game tilt against the Lakers. Unlike Portland, Houston faces a plethora of uncertainty with its power structure heading into next season. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni is headed to the open market this offseason after four seasons at the helm and speculation has surrounded owner Tilman Fertitta’s relationship with long-time General Manager Daryl Morey.
Following the Rockets’ exit, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon revealed that it appears that Morey’s current position in Houston is safe.
There has been widespread speculation throughout the league that Fertitta would want to also move on from Morey this offseason, gossip that began in the wake of Morey’s tweet that damaged the Rockets’ relationship with China, costing the franchise millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. High-ranking Rockets sources dismiss those rumors, saying that Fertitta fully intends to keep Morey.
In regards to D’Antoni’s future, his presence in Houston is murkier. According to The New York Times NBA expert Marc Stein, the Rockets could pursue Jeff Van Gundy in an effort to replace D’Antoni.
There have been rumbles in coaching circles for weeks that the Rockets will strongly consider Jeff Van Gundy to replace Mike D’Antoni if they make a coaching change— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 13, 2020
GM Daryl Morey, remember, had interest in rehiring Van Gundy when Houston hired D’Antoni instead in May 2016 https://t.co/CJXIul5WgY
D’Antoni amassed a 217-101 regular season record as the Rockets’ head coach.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, D’Antoni informed the Rockets on Sunday that he going to explore his options and is unlikely to return to Houston.