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Rockets sign Kevin McHale to contract extension

We all thought this was playoff performance dependent, but... guess not

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I'm sure this will provoke a measured and reasonable response from our comment section. The Rockets have given head coach Kevin McHale a three-year, $13 million contract extension. I know I wasn't alone in thinking that McHale's status for next year depended on how deep he could go in this year's playoffs, so the timing of this comes as a surprise to many.

It's tough being a head coach on the last year of your contract, no matter what league it's in. Couple that with this tidbit of which I was unaware, from Marc Stein:

And you can kind of see one angle that might have factored into Daryl Morey's decision to extend McHale as a Christmas present. Confidence is tough to quantify in players, let alone coaches, but a big part of me believes that Morey wanted to get this out of the way so the head coach could focus completely on the team.

Under McHale, the Rockets have transformed themselves this year into a gritty defensive team with enough offensive star power and clutch shotmaking to beat anybody. A lot of credit goes to defensive assistant J.B. Bickerstaff, but McHale is still the head coach of an obviously well-coached team. That counts for something.

His personality and playing credentials also played a factor in it. Jonathan Feigen spoke to owner Leslie Alexander about the extension (it's official now, I guess):

What it doesn't count for, however, is championships. All of the above is true, but it doesn't make this decision much less confusing. Even though the Western Conference is as murderous (if not more so) as it's ever been, another first round exit with this core will not be good enough for many fans.

The NBA is all about windows, and if Kevin McHale's notorious issues with rotations and in-game adjustments (still very much present) contribute to another playoff flame-out, the Rockets' window closes a little bit more.

Of course, the Rockets could still fire McHale after this season. It's not our money they'd be wasting. What are your thoughts on this Christmas Eve newsdump?