One of the most in-demand NBA coaching candidates has an extensive slate of interviews lined up this weekend.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Tyronn Lue is meeting with the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday afternoon. He has meetings with the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets lined up over the weekend.
Lue has won an NBA title and is well-regarded in NBA circles. He spent last season as an assistant coach with the Clippers, so he may have the inside track on that job.
This puts Lue in the mix for three of the five vacant NBA head coaching jobs. He hasn’t been linked to the Oklahoma City Thunder or Indiana Pacers.
Tyronn Lue spent the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers, but it sounds like he may have an opportunity to choose between multiple head coaching jobs heading into next year.
Lue is considered by many to be the favorite to replace Doc Rivers as the head coach of the Clippers. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he will also interview with the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans for their head coaching vacancies.
Each of those three jobs should appeal to Lue. The draw with the Clippers is obvious, as they are a championship contender and Lue has already established a relationship with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Rockets have just as much star power with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. In New Orleans, Lue would have an opportunity to coach one of the best young players in the NBA in Zion Williamson.
Lue coached the Cleveland Cavaliers for three-plus seasons, including their LeBron James-led championship team in 2015-16. He has drawn widespread head coaching interest around the NBA, so it is only a matter of time before he gets another job. It would be tough to imagine him turning down the Clippers, but there are multiple enticing opportunities out there at the moment.
The Houston Rockets let Mike D’Antoni go and are now looking for a new head coach. The team has begun its search and has a few names in mind.
The Rockets have received permission to interview Stephen Silas and Wes Unseld Jr. for the job, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday.
Silas is the son of longtime NBA coach Paul Silas. Houston actually liked Stephen as a candidate in 2016 before they hired D’Antoni. Silas was an assistant with Charlotte from 2010-2018. He has been with the Dallas Mavericks since 2018.
Unseld Jr. is the son of Hall of Famer Wes Unseld Sr. He has been a coach with the Denver Nuggets’ organization since 2015. Unseld Jr. previously interviewed or the Cavaliers’ job but did not get it.
The Rockets have been one of the best teams in the Western Conference the last several years, but they often were unable to get past the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. They fell short in the conference finals twice. The team lost in the conference semifinals to the Lakers this year.
Mike D’Antoni’s decision to not pursue a contract extension with the Houston Rockets was not exactly a shock, but some were surprised with how quickly it was made. After the Rockets were eliminated from the postseason, D’Antoni didn’t even wait until the team’s plane arrived home to say his goodbyes.
Kelly Iko and Sam Amick of The Athletic published a detailed look at the breakup between D’Antoni and the Rockets. D’Antoni reportedly had not ruled out returning next season after the Rockets lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 on Saturday, and he met with general manager Daryl Morey that night. Sources told Iko and Amick that D’Antoni was then expecting a phone call from Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta that never came.
D’Antoni was still expecting a call from Fertitta the following morning, but it never happened. The 69-year-old then made up his mind before boarding the team flight home that he would not seek another contract from the Rockets. D’Antoni then called his agent, Warren LeGarie, and told him he could deliver the news while the plane was in the air.
No one knew D’Antoni had made up his mind until he broke the news shortly before the plane landed, according to The Athletic. He informed Morey first, as the two have maintained a close relationship. D’Antoni then delivered the news to the team.
If there’s any disconnect, it is clearly between D’Antoni and Fertitta. Morey seemed to want D’Antoni back, and the coach reportedly had not made up his mind prior to Fertitta snubbing him. Fertitta recently put D’Antoni’s fate in Morey’s hands, but it sounds like the lack of communication from the team owner was a significant factor.
The Houston Rockets may have an early candidate for their vacant head coach position.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Los Angeles Clippers assistant Sam Cassell is interested in the Houston job, and that interest is mutual.
Cassell has no head coaching experience. He has, however, been an NBA assistant since 2009, first with the Wizards and now with the Clippers. He’s also remembered for his 15-year NBA career.
The longtime NBA point guard has been on Houston’s radar for a while. He even interviewed for the position in 2016, when the Rockets ultimately hired Mike D’Antoni.
Cassell is an intriguing name and has plenty of experience as an assistant by now. If the Rockets would prefer someone with head coaching experience and ties to the organization, it sounds like they have an option there, too.
The Houston Rockets had some yelling going on in their postgame locker room after a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 on Thursday, according to a report.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Saturday that there was “audible shouting” in the team’s locker room after a 110-100 loss to the Lakers to fall behind 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals series. He says there was talk about players bringing better body language and effort.
Some might take such a report to think there is fighting and dysfunction among the team, but that should not be the takeaway.
The loss put the Rockets on the brink of elimination. Airing frustration and vowing to play better and harder in the next game is a natural reaction.
If the Rockets lose to the Lakers in the series, it would mark their third time being eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals in the last four seasons. Two of those series losses came at the hands of the dominant Golden State Warriors.
The Houston Rockets are facing a 3-1 deficit against the Los Angeles Lakers, and one of their players thinks they know the missing ingredient to winning.
Austin Rivers admitted there is no stopping LeBron James and Anthony Davis when they’re playing harder than his team, and the Rockets have to best their intensity.
Easier said than done. James in particular is not known as a guy who takes plays off, especially at this time of year.
The Rockets have been close in every game, at least at certain points. They have been outplayed when it counts, though, and that’s all that matters. Couple that with unnecessary off-court drama and it’s understandable if frustrations are building.
The Rockets have been without a key contributor in their last two games against the Lakers, as Danuel House remains under investigation for an alleged violation at the Orlando bubble. That may be a big reason why Houston suddenly looked flat after dominating L.A. in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series.
House is being investigated by the NBA for allegedly allowing a female COVID-19 testing official into his hotel room. The NBA has yet to announce a ruling or confirm the investigation, but House sat out Game 3 for “personal reasons” and missed Game 4 on Thursday night. The Rockets lost both games and now trail the Lakers 3-1 in the series.
The Rockets were informed on Tuesday that House and Tyson Chandler — who missed Game 3 but was cleared for Game 4 — were under investigation for potential healthy and safety protocol violations. People with knowledge of the situation told Ben Golliver of the Washington Post that the team was “blindsided” by the decision to force House to sit. There have been no discussions between NBA and Rockets officials and no actual evidence has been presented by the league.
While the NBA has emphasized playing it safe in its attempt to continue preventing the spread of the coronavirus, one source told Golliver the situation would be handled differently if it involved a superstar.
“If it was a star player, there’s no way [the NBA] would handle it this way,” the source said. “They want to make an example out of somebody.”
House has maintained that he is innocent, but the NBA appears to be forcing him into quarantine.
House is a reserve player who has had some big games in the postseason. He averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in Houston’s seven-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He told reporters last week that he feels he has been “slept on heavily with a pillow and a blanket” and can’t wait to introduce himself to all those who have overlooked him.
Whether House would have made a huge difference on the floor or not, it sounds like the investigation involving him may have thrown the Rockets off their game. Head coach Mike D’Antoni said there was a “lack of spirit” in Game 4 on Thursday night. Russell Westbrook said he had no explanation for why there was no “sense of urgency” for Houston.
Los Angeles Clippers star Lou Williams was forced to quarantine for 10 days in Orlando following his infamous violation, and the league could make a similar ruling with House. If that’s the case, he may not get another chance to play in Orlando.
The Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to boycott a playoff game on Wednesday. They will not be the last.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets will reportedly boycott Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series, which was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Notably, Chris Paul, the star guard for the Thunder, is the president of the NBPA.
There was no word yet on the third game of the day between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. However, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that those teams were also leaning toward boycotting.
The Thunder-Rockets contest marks the second game of the day to be boycotted in protest of police violence. The Bucks refused to play Game 5 of their series earlier Wednesday.
The Houston Rockets wasted no time filling their vacant roster spot with a defensive stopper who could really help in the playoffs.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Rockets plan to sign forward Luc Mbah a Moute for the NBA restart. The move comes after it was reported that Rockets reserve Thabo Sefolosha would not play in Orlando.
Mbah a Moute will be returning to a familiar environment. The 33-year-old forward played for Houston in 2017-18, averaging over 25 minutes per game and contributing 7.5 points primarily as a productive reserve. Due to knee problems, he’s only played four games since then, and remained unsigned this year after an unsuccessful stint with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mbah a Moute is most regarded for his versatile defense, as he can handle the perimeter and the post very effectively. For the Rockets, who are at times suspect defensively, that’s a huge plus as they prepare for the Western Conference Playoffs. That’s probably why they were eyeing him even before the league shutdown.