After an extensive search that included interviews with a dozen candidates, the Rockets have chosen veteran Mike D’Antoni as their next head coach.
Despite his resume and reputation on the offensive side of the ball, the Rockets opted for the 65-year-old D’Antoni because he plans to have a veteran staff that includes Memphis Grizzlies defensive coordinator Jeff Bzdelik, the Washington Wizards Roy Rogers and possibly Toronto Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 26, 2016
The terms of the contract, which are still being finalized, call for D’Antonio to receive $16 million for four years with the final season at the team option.
D’Antoni made his biggest mark on the game during his time in Phoenix from 2002 to 2008, where his “seven seconds or less” offense was run by two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash. The Suns were 253-136 during his tenure and reached the Western Conference finals in 2005 and 2006, losing both times to the Spurs and Mavericks.
Since leaving Phoenix, D’Antoni has coached the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and L.A. Lakers, posting a record of 202-290.
The arrival of D’Antoni could also signal another step in the departure of center Dwight Howard from Houston. Howard can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The pair did not get along in their one season together with the Lakers (2012-13).