John Lucas II is an “emerging” candidate to be the new head coach of the Houston Rockets, according to a Monday morning tweet from New York Times reporter Marc Stein. Houston has been looking to fill the position since the team parted ways with longtime leader Mike D’Antoni on September 13, 2020.
John Lucas is an emerging candidate in the Rockets' search for a new head coach, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 5, 2020
Fans reacted to the news of Lucas’ candidacy with mixed feelings.
“He’s a great leader, been with Houston for a long time. He’s been out of coaching for while though, 18 years. Not sure about this,” one user tweeted.
“Lucas is a great basketball man but not a good coach. Everybody likes him but I doubt this works out. I met him once back when he was coaching the Sixers. Hell of a nice guy,” another wrote on Twitter.
“Since his addiction problems he’s helped many athletes and others with addiction issues clean up their lives. He really has been a model of living your life after addiction and helping others. That said, not sure if he’s at the top of the list for coaching vacancies at 66,” a third Twitter user replied.
Lucas has served as the organization’s player development leader for the last four seasons. He previously expressed interest in the Philadelphia 76ers’ vacancy, a role that Philadelphia announced it filled by hiring former Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers with a Saturday press release on the NBA website.
Rivers was one of a handful of new hires before the 2020 offseason officially began. Four teams have already announced the hiring of new head coaches. The Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers, and New Orleans Pelicans are also currently seeking candidates for their top jobs.
After playing college basketball for the University of Maryland, Lucas was the first overall pick of the 1976 NBA draft. A point guard and shooting guard, he was a member of the 1976-77 All-Rookie Team. Lucas played in the league until 1990, averaging 10.7 points per game over his career with six different franchises.
Prior to his current job as a Rockets assistant, Lucas coached the Sixers, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers, totaling a 173-258 record. His last winning season came in the 1993-94 campaign, during which San Antonio won 55 games with Hall of Famer David Robinson.
Lucas’ last term behind the Cavaliers’ bench came in 2003, from which he was fired after racking up an 8-34 record. Cleveland finished with at least 50 losses the three years prior before selecting LeBron James with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft.