There’s been a lot of questions surrounding the departure of Houston Rockets assistants Jeff Bzdelik, Roy Rogers, and Mitch Vanya, but now the motivation might be coming into view.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Rockets are one of two teams (the New Orleans Pelicans being the other) interested in bringing former Cleveland LeBrons coach Ty Lue aboard as a lead assistant coach. According to Shams (subscription required):
League sources said the Rockets offered Lue an assistant coaching position soon after he was let go by Cleveland in October and have not made a formal offer recently. But Houston could view Lue as a potential coup for the staff as a former head coach who has championship pedigree and would provide his offensive and defensive instincts to the organization.
Bringing Lue aboard would also likely send a message to current head coach Mike D’Antoni, who is reportedly after an extension, that his potential replacement would already be on staff. There have also been some rumors that D’Antoni’s return was guaranteed by owner Tilman Fertitta, while GM Daryl Morey was less sure, so perhaps bringing a big name on is the result of an owner/GM compromise. Or it’s Morey smartly putting a backup plan in place on his own accord.
Either way, this is a confirmation of several scuttlebutt rumors that the Rockets were after a big name assistant to bring in alongside D’Antoni. Another name being bandied about was Tom Thibodeau, but the Lue report is the first actual confirmation we have as a name and not just hearsay. Even if it’s not Lue, it appears we have some clarity on Houston’s line of thinking right now.
Lue brings obvious experience managing a superstar and has a 128-83 all-time record as a head coach, while going to three NBA Finals in three straight years (winning one) as coach of the Cavaliers.
Thought’s on Lue or another big-namer coming on, Dream Shakers?