Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt is being interviewed by the Houston Rockets and rumors are swelling that he has agreed to principle and that the only hurdle to the said agreement is the nod from their superstar James Harden.
Though league sources tell ESPN that no agreement has been closed yet as Blatt will also be interviewed by other teams who have no coaches yet such as the New Knicks and the Sacramento Kings and that the meeting with the Rockets is part of widening its search for the next coach who will take over the helm that was left by Kevin McHale and interim J.B. Bickerstaff.
Aside from Blatt, other names that are set to be interviewed by the team are Kenny Smith, Sam Cassell, Jeff Hornacek, Stephen Silas, Chris Finch and Mike D’Antoni. But interim coach Bickerstaff has already officially withdrawn from contention and stated that he would give way for the person who could handle the team full time.
Blatt is one of the most successful American coaches in European basketball history. As a coach, Blatt has been the Israeli League Coach of the Year four times (1996, 2002, 2011, and 2014), the Russian Super League Coach of the Year (2005), and the Euroleague Coach of the Year (2014). Blatt took over as Cleveland’s head coach and led the team to the 2015 NBA Finals in his first season. However, he was fired mid-season in January 2016.
But in the thick of things, Rockets officials have yet to discuss matter with James Harden to ask him of his preference as to who should take over as their bench tactician. It would have seemed that Harden makes a say as to their next head coach and so also with the free agency as to who they should sign in as well.
Aside from Blatt, making a strong presence for landing the job is Kenny Smith, who was part of the Rockets’ 1994 and 1995 championship team. Smith played as point guard to the Rockets after he was traded from the Sacramento Kings, which drafted him back in 1987. Smith would retire from the NBA at age 31 and would quickly work with Turner Sports since 1998 to present.
He has teamed with Ernie Johnson Jr., Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal on “Inside the NBA.” He occasionally appears on NBA TV as an analyst.
Thus, both Blatt and Smith must get the final nod from Harden for them to be really considered for the job of calling the shots from the bench.
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