With the Rockets’ season all but over (they got blown out in Game 1 of their series against the Warriors and things aren’t getting much better for them going forward), they’re starting to turn their attention to filling their head coaching vacancy. And they have a name in mind: Jeff Van Gundy, who’s currently scheduled to interview this week for the Timberwolves opening, along with Tom Thibodeau.
Jeff Van Gundy is at the top of the Houston Rockets’ list of potential candidates along with Thibodeau, league sources said. Jeff Van Gundy resigned as Rockets coach in 2007 after four seasons and still lives in Houston.
The Rockets won’t begin a coaching search until the team’s postseason ends. Houston is trailing Golden State 1-0 in their Western Conference first-round series. Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t discuss jobs with teams who have a coach in place, and J.B. Bickerstaff has been the Rockets’ interim coach since the firing of Kevin McHale in November.
Given Van Gundy’s Houston ties and familiarity with the organization, the fit makes a good deal of sense. And since he still lives in Houston, it wouldn’t involve moving his family, which has been one reason he’s been hesitant to get back into coaching since leaving the Rockets.
Thibodeau reportedly wants full personnel control, which isn’t going to happen in Houston, since they’ve already announced they’re keeping GM Daryl Morey. Van Gundy and Morey have familiarity with each other, which makes this a good fit as the Rockets try to rebound from a disastrous season.