In other words, it’s more than fair to expect the team that’s given the Warriors the hardest time of any during Golden State’s five-year run atop the league to look quite a bit different come training camp — perhaps starting in the coach’s seat.
The latest development involves D’Antoni, who has seen a great deal of success over the course of his long career, albeit without much payoff. With his contract set to expire following next season, the Rockets were reported to have offered him an extension worth $5 million for 2020-21, up from the $4.5 million he’s scheduled to make in the final year of his deal. But the number wasn’t really that high, per the Houston Chronicle, which reported Friday that D’Antoni’s agent, Warren LeGarie, claimed it was actually just a $2.5 million base, with escalators that would bring it up to that $5 million amount, including whether the Rockets make the playoffs. The Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen made note that Rockets GM Daryl Morey confirmed LeGarie’s account of the offer.
If this arrangement sounds strange, that’s because it is.
A prove-it deal for a guy who has coached 15 NBA seasons and won more than 1,100 games, including an average of 58 per season over his time in Houston? That sort of thing doesn’t just happen. Add to this odd set of circumstances the fact that the Rockets have let go of two assistants, Roy Rogers and Jeff Bzdelik, since the loss to the Warriors last month, and it feels like owner Tillman Fertitta and Morey (who in March agreed to a contract extension of his own) are trying to get D’Antoni to quit.
Fertitta and Morey pooh-poohed the unusual nature of their dealings with D’Antoni on Thursday, with Fertitta saying, “I don’t know what ‘lame duck’ means because he’s under contract. I think his agent did me a favor. Okay?” Morey was a bit more circumspect, noting that his being asked about extensions “happens all the time” and that “we’ll work something out after the next season, it’s fine.” For what it’s worth, D’Antoni said he is “still looking forward to the year and having a great season,” and LeGarie told the Chronicle that D’Antoni was not “insulted” by the Rockets’ offer.
All of this D’Antoni-related drama came down just a day after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi reported that Morey is ready to trade anyone on the Rockets’ roster as well as future draft picks. The report noted that “the possibility of trading . . . Harden is extremely limited.”
Given that D’Antoni’s status is now uncertain, Rockets fans might want to brace themselves for an eventful summer.
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