NBA Rumors: Houston Rockets Possibly Hiring Mike D’Antoni

NBA rumors are swirling around Mike D’Antoni. ESPN is reporting that the Philadelphia 76ers associate head coach is receiving a second interview with the Houston Rockets. That means that his chance of getting the job has increased tremendously.

Unless a team is really interested in making someone their head coach, they usually don’t get a second interview. NBA teams don’t like to waste valuable resources. The Houston Rockets are spending money to meet up with Mike D’Antoni for a second time. That means that he has advanced to the latter rounds of the hiring process.

Mike D’Antoni is now going to be meeting with Leslie Alexander. During his first visit with the Houston Rockets, D’Antoni met with Daryl Morey and other executives. Since management was impressed, they have recommended that the former Phoenix Suns head coach visit with the owner of the Rockets.

NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy
While the Houston Rockets were initially looking for a defensive-minded coach to take over the team, they apparently have now changed their mind. Mike D’Antoni is known for being an offensive-minded guy. Everywhere that he has gone in the NBA, the team has been looking to put up a lot of points.

A simple solution for the Houston Rockets is to hire a defensive-minded coach to become the top assistant for Mike D’Antoni. That’s what the Phoenix Suns did when D’Antoni was their head coach. Management brought in Alvin Gentry to be his top assistant. He focused more on the defense, while D’Antoni was allowed to do what he does best.

Initially, Daryl Morey was really pushing hard for the Houston Rockets to bring Jeff Van Gundy back into the mix. However, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander was not completely sold on the idea. The belief is that Alexander was concerned because Van Gundy has not been an NBA coach for almost a decade now.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden
The Houston Rockets must be getting really close to making a decision. Earlier in the week, they informed Kenny Smith that was he no longer in consideration for the job. The belief is that the Rockets told Smith that they wanted someone with more experience for the role. Mike D’Antoni certainly fits that bill, having coached four teams already.

If hired, Mike D’Antoni should have quite the effect on the Houston Rockets on the offensive side of the ball. The team was already able to put up a lot of points because James Harden is one of the hardest players in the NBA to defend. They should be even more prolific because D’Antoni encourages his teams to shoot the ball quickly.

The arrival of Mike D’Antoni might also seal the departure of Dwight Howard. The Houston Rockets center was expected to opt out of his contract this summer. Howard wanted to pursue one final big contract before he leaves the NBA. He doesn’t exactly fit the quick style of play that D’Antoni prefers.

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard
Mike D’Antoni has a knack for making point guards even more dangerous on the offensive end. Steve Nash became an MVP with the Phoenix Suns. Jeremy Lin became a global sensation for the New York Knicks. Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley will either thrive under D’Antoni or find himself on the bench watching his replacement.

Since they have failed to make it to the NBA Finals, the Houston Rockets know that they need to do something to excite their fan base. A defensive-minded coach might be more effective. However, an offensive-minded coach is going to be able to sell tickets.

If nothing else, Mike D’Antoni and James Harden should be able to sell a lot of tickets for the Houston Rockets.

[Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]