UPDATE 3:24 pm: Well, that didn’t take long. The two sides have come to an agreement in principle and Kevin McHale is your new coach of the Houston Rockets.
This is reportedly a four year deal with a team option for the last year. This is a Rockets roster in flux, it will be interesting to see what it looks like in four years and how (or if) McHale can mold that lineup.
12:55 pm: Kevin McHale badly wanted another chance to prove himself as an NBA head coach. Looks like he is going to get it.
The Rockets have offered their head coaching job to Kevin McHale, according to multiple sources, including the Houston Chronicle (Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo had it first). They still have to negotiate terms but both sides want this so expect it to get done.
McHale beat out Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank — both former NBA head coaches — for the job.
McHale has an unimpressive 39-55 record in two half-seasons with the Wolves, but that is without context. In both cases he stepped in midseason for a fired coach (Flip Saunders and Randy Whitman) and in both cases the team played better under him than it did his predecessor.
McHale is a legendary Celtics forward with a nice collection of rings. He should be great at molding a young, talented big man — too bad the Rockets don’t have one of those.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey was looking for a guy for the long term, to rebuild with as the coach. This older generation player is an interesting choice.
The Rockets are going to offer their head-coaching job maybe as soon as Friday to… someone.
Friday is the deadline but there is still the little question of deciding who should actually get that offer, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
“The next step is to make a decision,” a person with knowledge of the process told CBSSports.com Thursday….
A second person familiar with the process told CBSSports.com Thursday night that the Rockets are expected to extend a formal offer to their top choice as early as Friday.
It looks like it will be Kevin McHale — the legendary player, former Timberwolves coach and current TNT analyst — or Dwyane Casey, another former Timberwolves head man who is currently busy as a Dallas assistant coach.
Lawrence Frank had been part of the second round of interviews but has faded from the picture, according to multiple reports. Frank still is in the running for the job in Golden State.
It sounds like the Rockets may have had a self-imposed deadline and have reached it, and that everyone now just needs to agree on a party.
Yahoo! Sports reports that former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Mark Jackson interviewed for the head coaching position for the Golden State Warriors shortly after Keith Smart was let go. Jackson may get another interview, though Mike Brown remains the leading candidate.
Jackson’s experience in… broadcasting certainly makes him an attractive candidate considering how he’s never been an assistant coach past his playing days and how often that works out well. Wait, no, that’s not right.
Jackson’s chances are pretty slim considering the number of experienced coaches with head coaching work, not just assistant coaching work on the market. There are a number of capable candidates available, so Jackson’s unlikely to land the gig.
However, in the spirit of exploration, here’s a list of possible techniques used by Jackson on the Warriors were he to get the job:
- Handcuffing Andris Biedrins to the rim in an effort to make sure he knows he can not leave that area.
- Teaching the Warriors, a systemic and personnel disaster defensively, to be an elite defense by saying “That’s just terrible defense” over and over again, without any adjustments or suggestions for improvement.
- Celebrating every Monta Ellis pull-up jumper by screaming “Great players make great plays!” followed by some sort of pun.
- When Stephen Curry expresses consternation at defending experience veterans, Jackson will simply repeat “Hand down, man down” at every turn, eventually driving Curry into a mental institute.
- Responding to every off-court issue by shaking his head and saying “You’re better than that.” No fine, no counseling, just a catchphrase and a head shake.
Maybe Jackson will go the Vinny Del Negro route and surprise everyone despite his lack of experience. After all, Del Negro made the playoffs his first two years with the Bulls and managed to get the Clippers to be at least watchable again. Granted, everyone thinks Del Negro is a terrible coach with a two-year shelf life, but hey, non-playoff results are non-playoff results.
But with so many respected coaches, it’s hard to see MJax jumping to the front of the line.