NBA: Mike D'Antoni won't return as coach of Houston Rockets


Posted at Sep 14 2020 11:21 AM

Veteran head coach Mike D'Antoni has decided not to return as the head coach of the Houston Rockets, and will instead become a free agent.

This comes as D'Antoni's contract has expired at the end of Houston's season. 

The Rockets were ousted from the NBA playoffs on Saturday after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the semifinals of the Western Conference.

In a statement to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, D'Antoni said that "our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now, and we'll be moving on to a new chapter."

"Our time here was among the most memorable experiences of our lives. From the dear friends we've made, the incredible partnerships with civic-minded leaders and city officials, to the wonderful nonprofits and clients they serve, Laurel and I will be forever indebted to this community for embracing our family," said D'Antoni. 

D'Antoni coached the Rockets for four seasons, compiling a 217-102 win-loss record. He led the team to the Western Conference finals in 2018, where they lost in seven games to the Golden State Warriors.

Under D'Antoni's watch, James Harden emerged as one of the premier players in the league, and was the Most Valuable Player in the 2017-18 season.

"The Rockets are a historic NBA franchise with fantastic fans, and we've been proud to join with you to play a part in some of the successes here in Houston," D'Antoni said.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta called D'Antoni "a true professional and an amazing basketball mind."

"He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have had such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons. We wish Mike and Laurel nothing but success and happiness in their next chapter," he added.

According to Wojnarowski, D'Antoni is being considered for the vacant Philadelphia 76ers head coaching job.