Houston Rockets coaching rumors have been heating up these last few days with Mike D’Antoni’s contract coming up at season’s end. First, it was a blast from the past with ex-Rockets assistant Tom Thibodeau being mentioned as a possible replacement, and now another name that’s being tossed out there is former Houston head coach Jeff Van Gundy, who was Thibodeau’s boss for their stint with the Rockets from 2004-2007.
.@sam_amick to @KellyIkoNBA: "I do not get the sense that Mike D’Antoni is going to be back." #Rockets— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) May 6, 2020
"Jeff Van Gundy is the one that I had heard consistently as a very possible replacement for Mike. ... I’m not ready to move away from Jeff’s name." https://t.co/ktpzK4jcWA
New Rockets podcast with @KellyIkoNBA, @MoDakhil_NBA, and @sam_amick.— The Athletic Houston (@TheAthleticHOU) May 6, 2020
Sam's conversation with Tilman Fertitta
Rumors about the Rockets' head coach search
Danuel House's journey with the Rockets
Listen here: https://t.co/3whQ7ILlk2 pic.twitter.com/TROR20F57Q
Van Gundy had a 182-146 record during his time as head coach in H-town, and his team made the playoffs in three out of four seasons, though they never made it past the first round. He was fired after the 2007 season and replaced by Rick Adelman.
He then went into television broadcasting, working as an analyst and color commentator for ESPN, though he’s been rumored on several occasions to want to get back into coaching and has been linked to the Rockets on several occasions when they were looking for a coach.
It’s an interesting dynamic to think about. With Houston’s reported interest in both Thibodeau and JVG, are they perhaps considering bringing them both back together in a complete remake of those mid-2000s Rockets squads?
There’s no doubt those teams were tight defensively, which would be a benefit, however, neither Van Gundy nor Thibodeau have reputations as creative offensive coaches.
I can definitely see Thibodeau being willing to go back to being an assistant coach if it’s underneath one of his former mentors in Van Gundy. JVG doesn’t come back at all if he’s not the head coach.
With Mike D’Antoni sounding more and more like a goner after this season resolves (one way or another), it’s shaping up to be an interesting offseason with this flirtation with retreads. Who’s next, Kevin McHale? (let’s not speak that into existence)
So what are the Rockets thinking? Just Thibs? Just JVG? Both together?
What would you prefer?
Which of these rumored coaching options would you prefer?
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Jeff Van Gundy