The Indiana Pacers fired head coach Nate McMillan after suffering a four-game, first-round sweep at the hand of the Miami Heat, and some legitimate sources have one of their prime interests in a replacement as current Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni — in the final year of his contract — will be an Indiana target should he become available, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 26, 2020
The Rockets and D’Antoni have had several discussions about an extension earlier this year, however, the two sides could not come to an agreement, and the head coach has been working without job assurance past this season.
Whether or not he becomes available likely depends on Houston’s postseason performance. Falter in the first or second round, and it’s likely D’Antoni doesn’t come back. Western Conference Finals and beyond, and I think the Rockets offer him an extension.
That’s assuming D’Antoni even wants to come back. He has the highest winning percentage of any Rockets coach in history (.682), and he may feel partially slighted by the front office’s failure to treat that accordingly in contract negotiations.
Consequently, this is a league about winning titles, and Houston has yet to do it in his four-year tenure. If they falter again this season, there’s only a few years of James Harden’s prime remaining. The Rockets may be forced to make a move.
Whether or not the 69-year-old D’Antoni wants to start over in Indiana if things don’t continue in Houston is another story, but again, all of this is speculation dependent how the Rockets finish the playoffs.
In a perfect world, they win it all, D’Antoni gets an extension, and everyone lives happily ever after. Lose, and we’re talking about a replacement all offseason here at TDS (Kelvin Sampson, anyone?)