Carmelo Anthony certainly doesn’t want to come off the bench, but the Houston Rockets might not give him a choice.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Monday that he has yet to decide if Anthony will start for the Rockets or come off the bench, saying he prefers to wait and see how his pieces best fit together.
Mike D’Antoni is leaving it open on whether Melo starts or comes off the bench: “We’ll see how it fits. I don’t know how they play together, they fit together.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 24, 2018
The coach has given some hints on how Anthony will be used, but it didn’t include a promise to start. It’s hard to believe Anthony would accept a bench role, but it’s not clear he has a say in the matter.
The Houston Rockets lost two key players this offseason in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, and some people feel they are bound to disappoint next season after they won a franchise-record 65 games this year. Mike D’Antoni is extremely confident that will not be the case.
When asked recently about his expectations for his team heading into the 2018-19 season, D’Antoni said the Rockets have silenced critics in the past and expect to do it again.
“I think two things. And I don’t want to be snide. They said the same thing when we got Chris (Paul) and James (Harden). And I can see why they said that. (But) they don’t know what goes on, the inner workings of the team,” D’Antoni said, per Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. “And they don’t know 100 percent what’s important and what isn’t important, and where we can not lose somebody and where we can kind of make it up. And I understand that.
“It’s our job to prove them wrong. And we did it for two years now. ‘James can’t be a point guard’ and now, ‘Those guys can’t play together.’ We’ve got one more big step. If we’re going to beat Golden State – which everybody is searching for – you’ve got to take some chances and you’ve got to hope that things hit out and hit that sweet spot. Doesn’t mean it will happen. But I’m confident and I love our guys. And I think the worst we’re going to be is great and hopefully we can take that last step.”
The Rockets are likely going to add Carmelo Anthony in the new future, but opinions have been mixed regarding whether he will be a fit in Houston. Anthony has made it clear that he has no intention of coming off the bench for any team, and it’s tough to imagine how there will be enough basketballs to go around for him, Harden and Paul.
If the Rockets do sign Anthony, we already have an idea of how Las Vegas will feel about the move. D’Antoni, however, thinks it would be unwise to bet against his squad.
It’s safe to say that Mike D’Antoni is looking forward to getting another shot at the Golden State Warriors.
Speaking with the media during an appearance at Houston Texans camp on Saturday, the Houston Rockets head coach spoke on the power balance of the Western Conference heading into next season.
“It was tough before. It’s tough now,” said D’Antoni, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. “I don’t think anybody’s jumped over anybody. It’s just gotten tougher. It’s gonna be exciting.
“The NBA is in a good spot right now. There’s a lot of competition,” he added. “Golden State looked invincible a couple years ago, even last year. They’re not invincible. They have to get their team together also, and we’ll see who can do it.”
D’Antoni has a right to feel confident — the Rockets just took the Warriors to seven tightly-contested games in the Western Conference Finals and might have advanced if not for Chris Paul’s hamstring injury and a historic three-point shooting drought down the stretch of Game 7. But while Houston did re-sign both Paul and Clint Capela this summer, they lost a pair of vital forwards in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, while the Warriors picked up DeMarcus Cousins. The Rockets are also expected to sign Carmelo Anthony in a move that many believe will actually decrease their title odds.
As such, it’s reasonable to question whether the Rockets missed their best shot at dethroning the Dubs. The former Coach of the Year D’Antoni probably thinks otherwise though.
- Mike D'Antoni
Melo and Mike 2: Electric Boogaloo may actually be coming to theaters soon.
Yahoo! Sports’ Jordan Schultz reported on Friday that Houston Rockets target Carmelo Anthony holds no grudges towards Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and is excited about playing for his former New York Knicks boss. Schultz also adds that the feeling is mutual for D’Antoni, the 2016-17 Coach of the Year.
Houston is the frontrunner to land the ex-All-Star Anthony once he secures his exit from the Oklahoma City Thunder. There he would be reunited with D’Antoni, who coached him in New York for two seasons from 2011 to 2012.
That first stint in The Big Apple together was nothing short of a disaster with D’Antoni recently admitting that Melo pretty much forced him off the Knicks. But the two men have incentive to make amends — D’Antoni needs a forward after the Rockets lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, and Anthony is presumably looking for a starting job on a contender where he can also play with a Banana Boat brother (Chris Paul). Those are solid motivators.
The Houston Rockets would like Mike D’Antoni to continue doing his thing with the team.
The Rockets picked up D’Antoni’s contract option, which keeps him as the team’s head coach through the 2019-2020 season, according to Mark Berman.
NBA sources: The Rockets have picked up the option year on head coach Mike D'Antoni's contract. He originally signed a three year-deal with a team option for a fourth year. So he's now tied to the Rockets through the 2019-2020 season.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) June 27, 2018
D’Antoni originally signed a three-year deal with Houston, with an option for the fourth. He just completed his second season as the team’s head coach and would have been entering his final season under contract prior to the option being picked up.
The Rockets have gone 120-44 in two seasons under D’Antoni. They had the best record in the NBA during the regular season and took the Golden State Warriors to a full seven games in the Western Conference Finals. Many with the Rockets believe they would have won the series had Chris Paul not gotten hurt.
- Mike D'Antoni
Mike D’Antoni is not revealing much about Chris Paul’s status ahead of Game 7.
D’Antoni’s Houston Rockets lost 115-86 to the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday to force a Game 7 on Monday night in Houston. The big question entering the game has to do with CP3’s status.
Paul injured his right hamstring at the end of Game 5 and was unable to play in Game 6. After the Rockets lost, D’Antoni was asked about Paul’s status for Game 7.
“Not thinking about it because I don’t know,” D’Antoni said. “I have no idea. I wasn’t pre-med. The doctors … they’ll tell me. I have no idea.”
D’Antoni also said that he wouldn’t reveal Paul’s status until closer to game-time on Monday. The likelihood is that he won’t be able to make a miraculous recovery. One report has said the Rockets are not optimistic about CP3’s status.
Mike D’Antoni praised his team’s defense for an excellent performance in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors.
D’Antoni’s Houston Rockets held the Warriors to just 12 points in the fourth quarter and came away with a 95-92 win to tie the series. The defense also played well in the second quarter to allow themselves to get back into the game.
“I thought this was the highest level we’ve ever played defensively, without a doubt. Because you’re talking about maybe the best offensive team ever,” D’Antoni said after the game.
D’Antoni also said he regretted calling his players “soft” after their Game 3 loss.
“I regret it. They’re not soft; we just didn’t play with the amount of force that you need,” D’Antoni said of his team. “They’re not soft. And they proved it. So I misspoke, and you guys mis-wrote it.”
This was an excellent performance by Houston, especially considering how poorly they started the game. The series now heads to Houston for Game 5 on Thursday.