It was only a few weeks ago when it seemed like Mike D’Antoni’s tenure with the Rockets would be coming to an end in the near future, as his contract runs through the season, but the team’s success in the playoffs may have extended his run in Houston.
The Rockets front office had been quiet about D’Antoni’s job status, leading many to believe that the two parties would mutually agree to part ways in the offseason. But the Rockets are playing well, and are giving the Lakers a run for their money in the second-round playoff series. And D’Antoni deserves all the credit for creating and installing a system that would work with their “small ball” approach.
D’Antoni hasn’t given any indication that he’d want to coach elsewhere, so it does appear that if he were offered a contract extension, he’d sign it. But he’s 69 years of age, so that factors in as well.
The Rockets still have James Harden in his prime, and that’s a pretty strong selling point. Not only that, general manager Daryl Morey recently gave D’Antoni a vote of confidence, telling USA Today Sports bringing D’Antoni back is the team’s top priority this offseason.
“It’s probably No. 1 That’s a fair way to put it,” Morey said. “We have all our key players signed. I think Mike coming back is super important.”
This is interesting, because if Luguentz Dort had hit that three-pointer late in Game 7, and the Thunder somehow went on to win the first-round series, we might not be hearing the same words from Morey.