After the departure of Terry Stotts, rumors have been swirling about who would replace him as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. Another name has come up in recent days: Mike D’Antoni, who is currently an assistant for the Brooklyn Nets and the former head coach of the Houston Rockets. According to Sam Amick of the Athletic, a source reports that D’Antoni has a very real interest in the job.
But as this process begins, and with so many believing the quality of this hire will impact the organization’s future with franchise centerpiece Damian Lillard, there’s a counter-intuitive name to add to the conversation whose coaching profile likely eclipses any of the forthcoming candidates: Brooklyn assistant coach Mike D’Antoni. A source with knowledge of D’Antoni’s situation said he has serious interest in the Portland position, though it remains to be seen if it will be reciprocated.
D’Antoni would be an improvement on the defensive end.
D’Antoni, whose influence on Brooklyn’s star-studded squad is so apparent, has directed the team’s league-leading offense with Nash all season long. On the defensive end, where the Nets run the same switching system that D’Antoni’s Rockets employed, Brooklyn has recovered from a disastrous regular season on that end to rank seventh so far in defensive rating among the 16 playoff teams. His Rockets ranked 18th, seventh, 17th and 15th in defensive rating during his four seasons in Houston, respectively.
We will see who ultimately ends up on the short list. You can read the entire piece here (subscription required).