While the debate rages on as to blame team management for the dismissal of Rick Adelman or to understand that it was a mutual agreement, some of us have already moved on to who will be holding the clipboard next for your Houston Rockets.
Some interesting, and not so interesting names have already come up in the coaching rumor carousel. Adrian Wojnarowski, seemingly the most reliable source these days in all things NBA, attached the names Mike Brown and Stan Van Gundy as possible replacements within moments of the Adelman announcement yesterday. But they aren't the only candidates whose names have come up in rumors. And, to be honest, most of them are guys that the masses do NOT want. Let us take a look at the candidates below that have been mentioned.
We all heard the rumors that Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Coach Adelman rubbed each other the wrong way for awhile now. So I have to think that Daryl might get a say in who Les Alexander decides to hire this time around. Les has always been a guy to go for the big name coaches, but one playoff series victory in fourteen seasons may have him thinking it's time to go in a new direction. Probably a young, hungry guy over a retread. Especially when he let Tom Thibadeau get away. However, that is just my personal opinion. Because a lot of these candidates don't exactly fit that description.
Stan Van Gundy: Has he worn out his welcome in Orlando? That is debatable. The team has experienced great success under the brother of Jeff, but unable to steadily compete with the like of Boston, Miami or Chicago. And with Dwight Howard making it no secret that he plans to be the next superstar that feels entitled to play in a major market when his deal is up, the Magic are likely to get blown up soon. Would he come here? I see no reason why he wouldn't. Jeff loved his time here and still makes his home in Houston. I'm sure he would recommend it to his big brother. Personally, I'd be good with SVG. I love that he doesn't sugarcoat anything and how he calls his players out when they're underachieving. He rubs some the wrong way, but I wouldn't mind this hire at all, if he becomes available.
Mike Brown: Remember that Cavs team that LeBron James was the coach of? Yeah, well Mike Brown had the title of head coach there during that stretch. There has been wild debate amongst fans of how good of a coach Brown is. Did some of the success in Cleveland belong to Brown? Or was he really a "give the ball to LeBron and get the hell out of the way" kind of guy? It remains to be seen as he didn't coach last year. I would personally hate this pick because that is exactly the kind of coach he is, in my opinion. Frighteningly enough, he is begin called the early front-runner.
Mike Woodson: This one was mentioned on local sports radio this morning. Having watched the Hawks for years, this is the one coach I would personally want less than Mike Brown. Everyone goes to the stat that his Hawks teams improved every single year under his tenure. But that was due more to the talent on the roster than anything Woody did. He's a micro-manager that wouldn't even let his point guards call plays. Quite simply, DO NOT WANT.
Mike Dunleavy: It seems like every time there is an opening at the Rockets head coaching position, Mike comes up. It's like it is obligatory since he played for the franchise years ago. This one is just a mention at best and he won't even get an interview.
Mario Elie: I know how nostalgic Houston fans can get. Especially when it comes to the junkyard dog, Mario. He's had two assistant coaching jobs with Dallas and Sacramento thus far, but no real talks of landing a head coaching job. I could see him getting an interview, but he would be a long shot to actually get the job.
Elston Turner: He's gotten head coaching interviews the past couple of seasons and it has been said that him and Jack Sikma will both get interviews for the vacancy Adelman left. Turner has a better shot than Sikma in my opinion, but I still think the team is looking for a fresh start with new guys. Turner does deserve a crack at the job though. Hopefully his interview is more than just a formality.
Mike Budenholzer: This one was first brought up by Fran Blinebury a couple of weeks ago. And, to be honest, I could see it. The team management constantly talks about how much respect they have for the Spurs coaching staff and that they are looking to emulate that kind of group. What better way to start than taking their assistant coach and giving him the reins? He might not have Thibadeau-like success, but I think this guy is ready for a head coaching spot and I wouldn't mind seeing it here. He brings success and a commitment to defense to a team in dire need of it.
Brad Stevens: This one has been mentioned by no credible source. Just a desire from a lot of Rockets fans that think he is the next great coach. No one knows if he is even looking to leave Butler, who he has led to consecutive NCAA championship games with virtually no star power. He could be a great gamble to take, but again no one knows if he is even looking to make the leap to the NBA yet.
Jeff Van Gundy: No way. He loves his current job too much and I'm sure he remembers how he was treated by Les at the end of his tenure here. It's been said that he burned a lot of bridges during that bitter divorce.
Jerry Sloan: Before you throw something at your computer screen, would it really be that shocking? Sloan has said that he isn't done yet and isn't retiring. It's hard to deny the success the guy has had and this current roster fits his type of "gritty" play. He could have great success here and it would be fun to stick it to Utah. But, his Utah roots may be too much for Rockets fans to handle. If Les is considering retread coaches, Jerry would have to be at the top of his list.
Larry Brown: No.
There have been a few other mentions like John Calipari, Lawrence Frank and Mark Jackson out there, but they are just rumors with no real merit behind it. In my opinion, I think it is going to be Mike Brown. As much as I hate it, I just see it happening. But it doesn't mean I have to like it.
Of the mentioned candidates, who would you most like and least like to see donning the Armani for Houston next year?