Looks like the Houston Rockets are heading for a new season with a fresh start as they are set to name Mike D’Antoni as they next head coach. Rumors are also swirling that things might not be good for Dwight Howard as he had a not so good relationship with his former mentor back with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical wrote that the Rockets are offering D’Antoni a four-year contract and sources are stating that the deal is in its final stages with the official announcement to follow.
The report says that the Rockets are offering over $16 million to D’Antoni with the team option on the fourth year of the deal, sources said. It is also stated that the Rockets wants the rebuilding process of the team together with D’Antoni.
D’Antoni, who is the associate head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, is no stranger to calling the shots from the bench as he held coaching jobs with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the strong contender for the job with preference from the Houston Rockets ownership.
With the D’Antoni calling the shots for the Rockets, it could spell trouble for Howard, but rumors have it that it could also go either way as the former Orlando Magic star is still weighing his option going into free agency this summer.
Howard’s teammate, Jason Terry stated that as Howard is still contemplating on his decision, there is a great possibility that he could return to the Rockets next season as well.
“I wouldn’t rule (a return) out,” Terry said in an interview with Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson on SiriusXM NBA Radio via Hoopshype.
“He has yet to opt out. Again, it’s just going to depend on if you get the right coach in there. At this point in his career, he’s not going to be the focal point offensively. They’ve made that clear. He’s gonna have to if he remains in Houston, buy into the role fully, commit himself to setting screens, rebounding, running the floor, blocking shots and working on his free throws, obviously.”
Howard has a player option in his $23.3 million contract with the Rockets for next season and reports have been stated that he will opt out due to the fact that he could not work well with James Harden and with the hiring of D’Antoni as head coach. But Terry is fuelling more that Howard and D’Antoni might work out their differences to help the Rockets get a better chance in the league next season.
D’Antoni will be taking over the coaching chores from interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who was called upon the firing of Kevin McHale with 11 games into this season.
Photo Courtesy: Matt Hickey/Flickr