Currently toting a 4-7 win-loss record this season, highlighted by a four-game skid that prompted a players-only meeting at the Toyota Center on Tuesday morning, the Houston Rockets decided to give the pink slip to coach Kevin McHale.
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news on Twitter.
This was not the start the team expected to have this season after appearing in the conference finals last year. The Rockets were highly touted to be among the title contenders.
But Houston has had enough of the roller-coaster ride after 11 games in and decided to let go of McHale.
In his fifth season as Houston’s main bench tactician, McHale is only in the first year of his three-year extension with the Rockets worth $12-million which he signed last December.
An NBA legend, McHale has held the Rockets’ coaching reins since the start of the 2011-12 season and actually listed the highest win percentage as coach in the franchise’s history with a record of 323-193.
McHale steered the team to three straight trips to the playoffs, but this was overshadowed by Houston’s woeful start to its campaign and absorbed its fourth straight setback against the Boston Celtics last Monday night by 16 points.
Bickerstaff, son of longtime NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, has been steadily rising in the coachng position. He oversaw a Rockets defense that moved into the NBA’s elite circle one season ago. General managers around the league, including Houston’s Daryl Morey, believed it was just a matter of time until Bickerstaff gets elevated to a head coaching job in the league.
However, there is no guarantee that Bickerstaff will hold the position long term in the Rockets bench, but he certainly has a good chance of earning the head coaching job full-time.
With Houston wanting results – and wanting it now, several elite names with ties to the team in the past – Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau included, could crop up as candidates for the head coaching position.
But for now, Bickerstaff will have his hands full trying to turn things around for the Rockets and hope to once again burst into the playoff picture.