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.
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.