The saga of Mike D’Antoni’s contract negotiations continues to grow, but still remains a matter of hearsay.
Last Friday, the day after the Houston Rockets and D’Antoni ended extension talks, the head coach’s manager, Warren LeGarie, stated that all wasn’t as it seems, hoping to “clear up some inaccuracies.”
According to the manager, the reported $5 million extension offered to D’Antoni was really $2.5 million with contingencies - ones that included him not getting the other $2.5 million if the Rockets didn’t make the playoffs, or if he was fired in the middle of the season.
A few days after the statement was made, Rockets management finally responded.
Accord to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rockets GM Daryl Morey said that the offer “never would have paid him less than the $5 million base salary.” Instead, the $2.5 million that the agent was referring to was what D’Antoni would have been paid in 2020-2021 if he wasn’t brought back after the upcoming season. So in the event that the head coach was fired before the ‘20-’21 season, he would make $2.5 million from the Rockets plus any salary if he would receive if he decided to coach another team that year.
While the back and forth between the representation and Rockets management isn’t as bitter or toxic as others would like to make it seem, it’s still becoming a very unfortunate part, and possibly bitter end, to a great run in the franchise’s history. It could also be an omen of things to come in the upcoming season. With trade rumors swirling on top of public comments about contract disputes, the team’s staff and front office have a lot to work on if they look to have another successful season.
This isn’t the way anyone wanted the Rockets’ offseason to start, especially given that free agency hasn’t even begun yet, but it’s what it has become.