Last tango with Adelman?

HOUSTON — Team owner Leslie Alexander wasn’t in his familiar mid-court front row seat for the final home game of the Rockets’ season.

To hear the scuttlebutt, Alexander has already seen enough of coach Rick Adelman and after four seasons is ready to move on.

It will go down as one of the most curious divorce cases in history, where the party that files the papers has irreconcilable differences that are equally inexplicable.

For the second straight season, the Rockets have missed the playoffs. But for the second straight season the Rockets have been without their All-Star center Yao Ming, who broke a bone in his left foot and played in only five games after sitting out the entire 2009-10 schedule. Midway through last season the Rockets traded away an injured and unhappy Tracy McGrady.

“What team loses two people of that stature in basically a two-year type of period?” Adelman asked. “You just can’t lose those types of people. You can’t do it. It’s impossible. It’s like the Lakers losing Kobe and Gasol. I don’t think you’re gonna replace those guys real quick.

“It’s been a real struggle. It’s been a real disappointment for everybody including those two guys who got injured. We tried to just take it for what it is and go with the guys we have in here. There’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you get fortunate and sometimes you don’t. The job is still the same.”

Adelman has kept right on doing the job with aplomb and considerable success. In his four years in Houston, his record of 192-135 (.587) is the best winning percentage in franchise history. In the process he has climbed to 944 career victories, tying Bill Fitch for eighth place on the NBA’s all-time list. And there is no indication that he’s looking to follow Phil Jackson into retirement.

“I don’t think I’ve lost the desire to coach,” said Adelman, 64. “I think I still can do it. I think this team has been a lot of fun. It’s been tough during the season. When you’re going through it, it’s not so easy to go from seven games under .500 and all that. But when you’re working with a group of guys that just won’t quit and they play above and beyond what people expect them to do, that’s a lot of fun when you look back on it.”

What’s shocking is the lack of respect that the Rockets front office has shown Adelman, refusing to acknowledge that he’s kept the team competitive in an almost impossible situation and refusing to talk about the future.

Alexander has a history of chasing big name players and coaches and also chasing hot trends. It says here he’ll look to follow the instant success of rookie head coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago by trying to uncover the next crackerjack assistant ready to move up.

Hello, Mike Budenholzer in San Antonio.

“There’s not a whole lot in this league that will surprise me,” Adelman said. “I’ve seen so many things. Luis (Scola) asked me this morning. He said, ‘It will be my fifth year (in the NBA) next year. How many have you done?’ I said, ‘Luis, over 30 as a player and a coach.’ He looked at me like I was old. And that’s how I felt when I said over 30. So nothing surprises me.

“Every situation is different. You can’t look into things for the speculation. You have to look at reality. That’s what I will do. I’ll do it when the season’s over. But right now, I know it sounds corny and everything, but I want to try to win these games and then everybody will move on.”


  1. DC says:

    When the Cowboys owner Jerry Jones let Jimmy Johnson go, it was the beginning of a long search for someone as good at coaching… and it took many years for the owner to realize that great coaches are very rare. If Adelman is let go for whatever reason, I don’t think I’ll have the patience to continue being a Rockets fan quite frankly.

    It’s so painfully obvious that the team’s short-comings results-wise were the result of injuries, and that Adelman did a hell of a job. I really feel for Adelman, in that he can’t catch a break. Crooked ref Tim Donaghey not only screwed with Adelman’s Kings (v. Lakers), but he also messed with the Van Gundy Rockets (v. Mavs)… and I think Les is frustrated as we all are with Rockets’ lack of post-season success, but blaming the twice-shafted Adelman?? That’s just so wrong and short-sighted.

  2. elynn23 says:

    Let’s not hope this ends in starting from the bottom next year, instead of picking up wheer we left off this season. The players fit in Adelmans system, thats why he has always had winning seasons, regardless if he has won a championship.

    Best wishs Rick and God Bless

  3. BehindTheArc says:

    what’s about exchange:
    Rick Adelman to PHX for Alvin Gentry plus Draft pick 😀

  4. McLovin says:

    I know this is probably a large waste of my time but the Raptors could use a coach like Adelman. If he can get the solid roleplayers on the Rockets to compete with a .500 I would like to see what he could do for the Raptors after they are done with their offseason trades/signings. Sadly, another team will snatch him, and benefit net season. Probably the Pacers.

  5. Billy says:

    he is a good coach but not a great coach. he has never shown the urge to play defense on any team he has coached. If I can remember, this was the Kings problem a few years ago. If the team had an athletic big man, things would change.
    Also, did they Adelman in these quotes sound like he even wanted to coach much longer? Can you really blame the rockets?

  6. Leo says:

    It’s so sad that the rockets organization want sadelman out. from my point of view, there’s no way this ball club could get ever get the # 9 spot. I thought that they belong in # 11 or 12. C’mon, give coach adelman that credit!!! the organization should give him another season most especially since they have been in a good run following the trade. I believe that the club have got the right players this time. They are more than ready for the next season. Don’t you think?

  7. Great_coach says:

    I wouldn’t like to see coach Adelman on a rebuilding team, he’s already had some tough years. He did a great job in Portland, Sacramento and Houston.

    I’d rather see him on an elite team like Celtics, Lakers or the Heat!

  8. dimple says:

    why not go back to the kings??? lol

  9. vic says:

    this is really bad for houston if they let rick go… if he goes i hope he goes to l.a or indiana…. hats off to you rick…

  10. Joni Hansen says:

    Talk about losing tour 2 best players, How about losing 3 players to one team, Boozer, Korver and Brewer to Chicago. Then coach Sloan steps down after 23 yrs. with 1 team tnen your point gaurd gets traded to NJ. Now thats losing a team, so I wouldnt cry about 2 players

  11. karex says:

    i hopek adelman gets a new coaching job if he was let go by rockets… teams like detroit and indiana need a coach like adelman,

  12. Sherman says:

    Rockets fans, you have one hell of a coach in Rick Adelman. If it could be possible he’d would still be coaching the Trail Blazers/

  13. John says:

    Rick is one of the best coaches in the game, and there aren’t many people that can get Houston to over achieve 2 years in a row(almost making the playoffs for that roster = over achieving).

  14. Markymark says:

    This is CRAZY!!! Coach ADELMAN is a GREAT coach… and quit frank, the best they have had in DECADES. Im with anyone who said, HOUSTON’S front office needs to reevaluate their future, if they think any other coach is going to come in and do a better job with the personnel currently available. If they have intentions on getting better players to go with what they have, they better consider giving ADELMAN an extension because good coaches are far in between!!

  15. JOHN says:

    Adelman was a geat coach while in Sacramento. Was so sad when he left and the circumstances. Maloofs, Petrie were all behind it they wanted a cheaper coach and yes, they sure got one!!!!!!! Good Luck Rick the Sacramento fans loved you as our coach!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Jake says:

    If the Rocket’s front office doesn’t give Adelman an extension then it will be a sad day for NBA coaches. He’s done as well as he could have considering the circumstances. If the Rockets don’t want Adelman anymore though, then I’m sure some other NBA franchise would be glad to have him. Detroit maybe?

  17. roody says:

    lol prix you are sooo funny the celtics playing soo dirty they almost kill players

  18. My74corolla says:

    Look, coaches don’t win championships by themselves. A good coach is able to maximize the individual talent from each player AND blend that into a team effort. Rick is such a coach and has been able to do that with all his teams. I think he should leave Houston because they obviously don’t deserve the overachiever that he his.

  19. Si Dao says:

    Rick was a awsome coach in portland when we had Clyde and comp. I became the Kings fan because of him, then the Warriors, then Houston. One of the best coach to coach the game without the big maket place. Wish you the best coach.

  20. Tuneri says:

    There are many factors i’ll consider as reasons for the Rockets lack of success in recent years, and coaching is definitely not one of them. Injuries (Yao, Tracy etc), Highly competitive conference and SW division, heck even a few management errors (I love Morey, but why did he keep AB for so long?????). With all of these, Adelman still made the best of what he had (have you seen Dragic’s lines recently, the system brings the best out of these guys we’ve all come to love!!!)! Alex and Morey, you better sit and think hard about where the franchise is heading if we loose Adelman!

  21. msu15 says:

    Rick Adelman has never caught a break as coach of the rockets. His team has never been healthy, and when they were, they were really good and a contender. If Yao doesn’t go down in the 2009 playoffs(and they were already without tmac) the rockets would’ve beat the lakers and we wouldn’t even be talking about a potential lakers 3-peat. Rick is an excellent coach(and this is coming from a mavericks fan who’s had to deal with his great kings team also), and it would be a shame if they fire him.

  22. SYDALE says:

    Well… I speculate that there’d be many suitors for Adelman next season… #1 would probably be the Bobcats… After that… the Pistons, the Hawks maybe, or the T-Wolves… maybe even the Celtics if Doc Rivers doesn’t come back…

  23. Rebooth says:

    Rockets will be losing fans, if they lost Adelman. And I’m one of them!

  24. dech says:

    Adelman is one of the best, but maybe not for houston next season. To me it’s all about the team what’s on the court for houston next year, if it’s a championship team then adelman is the right man for the job, and if it’s a young talented team he is just not the right fit.
    I think it all depends on what direction the rockets wants to go, cause i rather have adelman coach a championship team then a young rockets team.

  25. Lee says:

    that will suck big time for the Rockets if they let Rick go, he’ll probably sign with the Lakers next season upon Phil’s retirement then maybe he’ll have a chance to win a championship

  26. gerald says:

    rick is a great coach and if houston will let him go, It is not going to be a surprise if he
    will go to another team the man can still coach…(Hello INDIANA)

  27. NY Vlad says:

    trade rick adleman and chuck hayes for mike dantoni and jarred jeffries

  28. dee says:

    this move is just so wrong. why now when you get young legs and breed of new talents in your team? this is just so wrong.

  29. teebone21 says:

    Screw houston if they get rid of him. He is part of the reason why we were playing so well after allstar break. Mcgrady gone? GOOD he isnt doing anything in detroit, YAO injured NOT COACHES FAULT, draft a backup shot blocker to give him rest, Brooks/Shane traded! Management fault not coach.

  30. BIGmatta says:

    ring ring..hello…whos that? Oh Hi Larry, excuse me? oh yeh sure I’ll come to Indiana and have a chat

  31. rico says:

    they better not give up rick!

  32. Magic4Champs says:

    Rockets are taking a big risk, and im appaled at the lack of respect for adelman. when a guy can carrry a team of underdogs into a winning record year after year, he deserves better than this. good luck to your next coaching job, hope he finally gets a team that he deserves

  33. thejerr says:

    Come on over to lakerland Rick, i would love for phil to step down this year, if he does, and have Rick take his place, that would be a hell of a new caoch to try n fill jacksons shoes. EH!?!?!

  34. prix says:

    Great coach…Greater respect…too bad they fell short after a great season of fighting with mostly solid role players…this is the team that most NBA teams should learn from, THE HEART TO WIN OF ROCKETS!!! not like the Lakers full of superstars but they needed flops and buying out refs to win…not like the Boston playing so dirty and almost to kill players just to win..I’d rather go with the Rockets who have the will to win than this Champions that earn it in a Disgrace way!!