Rockets had plan for new coach, Adelman didn’t play along

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The Rockets have moved on and are apparently interviewing everyone who has ever touched a basketball for their vacant head coaching position, so we’re not going to dwell on the past. Much.

But we’re going to one last time revisit the Rockets not bringing back Rick Adelman as head coach. Which seemed to be something built up for a while, with management seeming to be on a different page and questioning if Adelman was the right man for a young, rebuilding team.

But according to the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets wanted to bring Adelman back to mentor a successor, but he refused. (h/t Ball Don’t Lie)

Adelman could have remained the Rockets’ head coach, but was told that the Rockets had decided to hire his successor and put him on Adelman’s coaching staff if he remained, according to two individuals with knowledge of the talks.

Though Adelman and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey came together on several issues, Morey wanted Adelman to mentor a successor that Morey and Rockets owner Leslie Alexander would have chosen and put on Adelman’s staff. Adelman was unwilling to make the changes necessary to his staff, arguing in favor of assistants.

Adelman, 64, has long touted lead assistant Elston Turner as ready to lead a team, but the Rockets were not willing to designate Turner as Adelman’s successor, leading to Turner’s decision to turn down an offer to interview for the head coaching position.

Not sure I blame Adelman here, that would have been awkward. There are coaches-in-waiting in the NBA (Brian Shaw for the Lakers, maybe Lawrence Frank in Boston) but neither of those are official, locked in things. This is not some college football program trying to keep an offensive coordinator in house with a title, this is professional sports and nothing is guaranteed.

At what point would the power balance have started to shift? If the players learned of the situation (and they would have) how would they have dealt with the lame duck Adelman? Lots of questions. Ones we will never have the answer to.

But the way it turned out seems to be the better path to follow.

Report: Houston may make run at Stan Van Gundy for coach

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Houston got rid of one steady, veteran coach because of some ongoing clashes with management.

But for his replacement, they seem to be looking at veterans as well, according to a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Adelman was troubled that organization wouldn’t offer an extension during season. Two names to watch for job: Mike Brown and Stan Van Gundy.

Stan Van Gundy?

Yes, he still sort of has a gig down in Orlando (and has another year on that deal). Yes, he has taken them to the NBA finals and deep into the playoffs. However, if the Magic exit in the first round of the playoffs this season, and maybe even the second, they may look to move him. Understand that the Magic are in full “we have to keep Dwight Howard” mode and if they think dumping SVG will make Howard happy then they won’t bat an eyelash. It’s not a smart move, but they may do it.

Mike Brown we mentioned before. The former Cleveland coach was a defense-first guy who racked up a lot of regular season wins with LeBron James as the key guy, but the roster would get exposed at some point in the playoffs. Still, the vibe around the league is that this guy can coach. If not Houston, he’ll land somewhere.

Of course, Houston may go unconventional after all. Wojnarowski, talk to us:

Others believe Rockets want to go unconventional and try to unearth the next big coaching star. Well, who doesn’t? Easier said than done.

The Rockets own current assistant Elston Turner is considered a guy who is going to get a head coaching gig one day. The problem is you get the feeling the Rockets want more of a shakeup than bringing in a current assistant. But stranger things have happened. Like the Magic even considering getting rid of Van Gundy.

Rockets assistant Elston Turner interviews for Bull head coaching gig

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Thumbnail image for bulls_logo.gifDo the Bulls know what they want?

Rockets assistant Elston Turner sat down with Chicago Bulls brass for a four-hour interview Thursday about the team’s head coaching gig, according to’s David Aldridge. Turner has been one of the hot assistant coaching names around the league for several years now, interviewing for several jobs including the Phoenix Suns job a couple years ago.

Aldridge also contradicts earlier reports saying that the Bulls did have interest in bringing Doug Collins back for a second stint with the team. However, Collins has now taken the Sixers job and is off the table.

Turner may make a good head coach one day, this is not meant as a slight to him, but after firing Vinny Del Negro we kept hearing how the Bulls wanted to bring in a coach with NBA playoff coaching experience. That list of coaches — Lawrence Frank, Mo Cheeks — may not have thrilled them, but do they really want another coach getting his first chance at the big chair? Does that impress LeBron James and other free agents they are going to be courting?

Do the Bulls know what they want as a head coach?